Popular Foods, Traditions, and Holidays
Estonia is a country of rich culture and tastes. The country offers many different kinds of cuisine such as sauerkraut, blood sausage, and herrings. This northern European country also has a vast history that incorporates many holidays and days of celebration such as the Day of Mourning and Commemoration, Tribal Day, and of course the Day of Restoration of Independence. The traditions of the country are very intertwined with speech, song, and story. This is largely because of the country’s relationship to family ties, Russia, and the Lutheran church; some say that the Estonian’s constant singing and dedication to family values is why it was granted independence from the Soviet Union. Ultimately, one will find something they love if they visit this unique and diverse country.
Foods and Beverages
Estonian food is very simple and filling, and for a while only consisted of bread and grains. Later the Estonians added in other side dishes such as potatoes, fish, meat, and milk. These foods are traditionally cooked in barn ovens and served in wooden bowls. Soups and porridges are also very common when the grains for butter are being planted. Popular types of soups include lentil, pea, and bean. Butter is spread on bread typically and salt is used to preserve it during the milking season. However the country has changed because of changes in innovation so rice pudding, seasoning, and store-bought food have been popularized, but the national food still remains the blood sausage and alcoholic beverages such as kali, a drink with juniper berries, remain unfettered by time.
Examples of Estonia's Culture and Traditions
There are numerous traditions and customs in Estonia that are vital for the everyday voyager. First, if one is invited to someone else’s home then it is necessary to bring a gift such as wine or chocolate; however no white flowers should be brought because they are associated with funerals. It is also common to remove one’s shoes when one enters somebody’s home. National pride is very strong in Estonia and every man must do some military service so one should not mock these customs. Birthdays are cherished and the naming system of Estonia often involves taking the name of a grandparent or other figure. Lastly, remember Estonians enjoy their space and privacy; this is why more than 80% of the people have their own home.
Traditional Estonian Blood Sausages
Candles are laid out next to a government building in Estonia to remember the 60,000 Estonians deported to Siberia because of the Soviet takeover in 1941.
Military service is compulsory for men between the ages of 19 to 28, lasting typically 11 months.