Tuoni, Ruler of Death

Tuoni (“death”) is the ruler or king of Tuonela or Manala, the Underworld.

Tuoni brings people with him to the Underworld. Dead people arriving with Tuoni have  Tuoni’s hat on their head and Tuoni’s gloves in their hands. From these signs, the gatekeepers of the Underworld can tell that the person is truly dead.

Another ruler of death is Kalma (“corpse”), who is the Ruler of the Graveyards. Kalma lives under ground in the mansion of Kalma. Tuoni and Kalma collaborate. When a person is dying, Tuoni holds them by the hand, Kalma by the other – or Kalma holds their hand, Tuoni holds their foot.

The third representative of death is Surma (“death” or “killing”). Surma arrives from the swamps to bring a person to the Land of the Dead. Surma is sometimes called Daughter of Kalma.

A dead person is said to have Surma’s reins in his mouth and the chains of Manala around his neck.



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