Estonia – The country that sings

As you already know I use to travel on the trails of music. In this article I will introduce you a country not very far away from Western Europe and very unknown to many Wester European People though. I’m talking about Estonia a small country in the North west of Europe which got its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. It’s a Young country with a rich and interesting history and many influences which you notice as soon as you arrive in the port of its beautiful capital Tallinn. Estonia was conquered by the Germans before which you can notice in the language. For instance the Estonian word for pants is püksid which comes from the German word Buchse used in some South German dialects. For travelling Estonians use the word reisima which comes from the German word reisen.  So if an Estonian says head reisi he wishes you a nice trip. If you want to book your trip you go to the reisibüroo. Although being a Finno-Ugrian language Estonian is not as weird and difficult as it might seem, is it? Estonia was also conquered by Swedes and Danes before. That’s why its capital is named Tallinn. It’s a derivation of tanska linn which simply means Danish city. Tallinn is a Hanseatic city where German was a very prestigious language for trade and education. After Estonia was occupied by the Soviets Russian became the official language. Although being a Socialist country Estonians always had good relations with Finland. Furthermore the languages are both very similar and Estonians were able to watch Finnish TV and to listen to Finnish radio. Finland and Estonia also have the same national anthem which was written by Frederic Pacius a German. But there’s another heritage which the Estonians have to offer and that’s their more than 100.000 songs and poems. The Perestroika in the middle 1980s enabled the manifestation of many concerts and events where the Estonians sang their songs. The Estonian song Mu isamaa, mu õnn ja rõõm (“My Fatherland, My Happiness and Joy”) almost became something like a secret national anthem of Estonia. Another famous Estonian anthem is Eestlane olen ja eestlaseks jään (“I am Estonian and I will remain Estonian”). The lyrics of the songs say that the Estonians want to be as free as their ancestors. All five years there’s a big Manifestation called laulupidu to celebrate Estonia’s independence on the big Lauluväljak which you can see from the ferryboat when you arrive in Tallinn. The next laulupidu will take place in summer 2019 and I want to go there urgently. The Estonians say: “We are so few in number that we mst emphasize that we exist”. In comparison with other revolutions the Estonian revolution was not bloody at all. Their only weapon was singing and so they sang themselves free from Soviet occupation. That’s why we call it the Singing Revolution or in Estonian Laulev Revolutsioon.

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