… and grill yourself in a sauna, that’s what I did this month. Even though pandemic circumstances I had the chance to participate in several events related to Estonian holidays and to get to know more of the traditions 😊 (Spoiler alert: I consumed a lot of vastlakukkel) Also I organized a little public event on my own (with Matviy): A treasure hunt. Well let’s say, next time we’ll do it better. The execution process made me even cry. Why?
To make it clear, the planning drove me a bit mental, but the three tears I lost on the preparation were rather caused by the physical pain of loosing a glove while hiding treasures in the middle of the night, running somewhere in the nowhere through a dark park. Oh, and not unimportant to notice: Of course, it had a lot of snow and -17 degrees. Not optimal for my fingers lol. Well, as you can see, I didn’t freeze them off, but all in all I really hope that it was more fun for the participants solving our weird riddles than for us preparing the stuff haha. But for the next time I don’t have to worry: The temperatures will be higher, for sure😉
As a little relaxation I spent the next day in sauna with Mylene, Aysegül and her friends, who where so kind to invite us for this traditional Estonian free time activity. It was an awesome evening!
Besides from that I visited the sauna again, this time with other volunteers after an ice “safari” on peipsi järv. After trying a bit of ice fishing there, we could warm up ourselves in a “panorama sauna”, which was actually more of a garden house without wooden walls but plastic planes instead lol. Still, a fun and (most important) warm experience 😉
Experience, experience, experience, this is what February was all about, especially the experience of celebrating Sõbrapäev, Vastlapäev and Eesti vabariigi aastapäev, since those days are celebrated a bit different in Austria. Let me start with Sõbrapäev, aka friendship day: Here it’s all about meeting your friends, making them happy and being thankful for them. This is a mindset I really appreciate, since in my home country only couples benefit from “St. Valentines Day”, while partnerless people sometimes just end up feeling lonely and sad lol. Well luckily here in Estonia, I could spend the day with my volunteer friends and some youngsters in Tõrva, where we participated in some kind of hiking trip, which also included fun activities like sledging down a hill on a garbage bag.
Sledging was also one of the key actions on Vastlapäev, which I even celebrated two times: On “Shrove Tuesday” I was snow-tubing in Lüllemäe with the Valga Youthcenter, while on Friday we had a nice celebration with the culture house in Tsirguliina. We did not only bake Vastlakukkel, but also crafted some kind of toy, ate Hernesupp and went, of course, sledging. It was fun, but I also missed the Austrian tradition: On “Faschingsdienstag” (Carnival Tuesday) people normally dress themselves up, we have some carnival processions or masquerade balls and eat a lot of “Krapfen” (kind of jam filled doughnuts without the hole). At least this habit I could compensate by consuming many Vastlakukkels haha.
Last but not least, there was also Eesti vabariigi aastapäev… I think I also spent this day like other Estonians: A bit of hiking, a bit watching of the military procession at the Tõrva memorial site, a bit of a cello concert and a lot of Kilu. Compared to the Austrian national day, where nothing except from a military presentation happens, I was quite surprised about so much entertainment program (especially despite corona).
All in all, this month and, in particular, the celebration days were really exciting and I learned so much new about Estonia 😊 I really want to take over a few of the traditions and show the to my Austrian friends and family next year! And I will definitely bake some Vastlakukkels… 😉
So, hier auch noch der deutsche Teil: