Estonia – Culture


Folk Culture Pop Culture
Food* – Kama

Kama is a very unique drink. It is made of sour milk, and a mix of ground grains including rye and barley. It is actually a dessert drink, and is quite easy to make.
– Marinated Eel

Commonly served cold,  Marinated Eel is a traditional meal for many Estonians. European Eels from the Baltic Sea have been the source of this food for hundreds of  years.

Estonia has embraced foods from around the world. Being centered between east and west, Estonia has gotten a diverse mix of cultural influx. So pretty much all forms of meat and fruits and vegetables and  grains are part of Estonian popular culture.
Art/Music Estonian language lacks gender and future tense.  For this reason traditional Estonian artwork, lacks concepts of love or joy or hope. They often depict natural scenes.
Estonian Rock was developed during Soviet rule, and grew outside of  the law. The rock band Ruja, personified this style of music in Estonia, showcasing Estonian rock throughout the 1960s.
Estonia holds several major music concerts throughout the year, including the Viljandi Folk Music Festival (more traditional),the Leigo Lake Music Festival, and the Tallinn Music Week (more contemporary, popular music). Each of these showcase many of the popular genres and music styles around the world.
Clothing Traditional Estonian clothing can  be divided into three categories:

– Festive clothing, which was decorative and only worn on occasion and handed down from generation to generation.

– Formal clothing, which was made for business and formal outings.

– Everyday clothes which were usually homespun and made of wool or linen.

Formal business clothing around the world is almost all the same (somethin like a suit and tie), and Estonia is no exception. In this category only the ruralist of farmers will still have c traditional clothing. The rest of the country wheres the same cotton, Nike and Adidas that much of the world wears.
Shelter Estonian villagers have preferred the barn-shelter for centuries. These low walled, high roofed buildings were built for almost function alone. Cities were built out of red brick, but the design  on these buildings were often influenced by other countries.
Because Estonian architecture has accumulated many other external influences, we must go to the far corner of the country to find truly unique buildings. On the Saaremaa islands traditional shelters have been made of limestone as opposed to the red brick and common lumber of the mainland.
The architecture in Estonia has undergone many changes in recent times. The red brick churches and  town halls of the past have been replaced by glass mirrored offices and banks common throughout the world.
Technology Folk culture in Estonia was and is seen mostly in the rural farmland. Farms are typically run by one large, extended family. The technology used on the farm depends on the size and wealth of the household. Estonian technology is pretty much up to date with the rest of the world. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Estonians have developed the coding for Skype, and became the first  country to  allow online voting in general elections. If anything Estonian popular culture, in this respect at least, is ahead  of its time.
Beliefs Much of Estonian folk belief  is pluralistic, meaning they believe in different spirits that lack any sort of hierarchy (nature spirituality).  Even today, with the pressure of Christianity, these beliefs are often still followed, Estonians are loath to antagonize any  of their deities, new or  old.
Maavalla Koda, boasting about 3-4 hundred members, is a form of this pluralistic/ nature focused belief. In this belief the earth is of utmost importance, and people who follow this often ‘talk/think’ to the nature around them, specifically the trees.
The Lutheran church is the largest church in Estonia. However it only accounts for 13% of the population. This is because when the Germans and Danes brought Christianity to the country, they faced great opposition by the locals.
The Orthodox church was brought to Estonia by the Russians in the 19th century. However they were still trying to teach in Russian until the early 20th century, and very few Estonians had interest in adapting a religion they could not understand.
Although technically still the popular culture in Estonia, Christianity, in its many forms, beliefs themselves are not highly regarded in Estonia.
An image from the Tallinn Music Week. (Tallinn is the capital of Estonia)
Kama, a favorite native desert (topped with strawberries)
Peko, an artifact in Estonian folk beliefs
Traditional use of red-brick in architecture

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