Monday, 12 November 2018

Tallinn's Christmas tree has arrived!

Every September Tallinn City Council runs a competition in search of the perfect Christmas tree to place in Tallinn's Town Hall Square. The tree must meet the following criteria, it should be between 15 and 18 metres long, symmetrical and have dense leaves. Ideally the tree should grow in an open place, far from electric wires for easy removal.

This year's winning tree comes from Tallinn's Kristiine district. Last Thursday the spruce left its former home in Kibuvitsa Street and made its way to the Old Town.  The Christmas tree will now be the centrepiece of the Tallinn Christmas Market for all to enjoy.

Tallinn was the first city in Europe to have a public Christmas tree. It is a tradition that dates back to 1441. The journey of the Christmas Tree can be viewed on Vimeo.

Friday, 9 November 2018

A look at Estonian citizenship

In recent weeks there has been much discussion about who is eligible for Estonian citizenship. The issue came into the spotlight with the case of Alli Rutto, an Estonian residing in Abkhazia who was granted Estonian citizenship in error. So who is an Estonian?

True Estonians are ethnic Estonians. Estonians by blood. This means one or both parents are ethnic Estonian and can trace their heritage back in Estonia for generations. Estonia also granted citizenship and cultural autonomy to all ethnic groups living within its border upon independence in 1918. These groups included Germans, Russians (particularly Old Believers), Jews and Swedes who had likewise lived there for generations. For these people Estonian citizenship is a birthright and, as long as their families were citizens of Estonia during the first period of independence (1918 - 1940), they can apply for a passport.

When Estonia achieved independence and the Treaty of Tartu was signed in 1920, there were thousands of Estonians living abroad. My family were among these people. My great-grandfather worked in Finland for many years before seeking new opportunities in Russia. He married his Estonian wife in St. Petersburg in 1913 and lived in an Estonian community there until 1921. After the Treaty of Tartu was signed those Estonians living abroad had one year to claim their Estonian citizenship and resettle back home. Thousands of people did return to Estonia, my family included. During my genealogy research I viewed my family's Estonian citizenship application in the Estonian National Archives. Besides supplying documents such as birth records they also had to have three people personally vouch for them to prove they were indeed Estonian.

Estonians by blood cannot lose their citizenship and their descendants are automatically Estonian citizens regardless of where they were born. It is considered their birthright. This is particularly true with the Estonian diasporia. Thousands of Estonians fled Estonia because of the Soviet occupation but they would have stayed had the country not been occupied. These people kept the Estonian language and culture alive in all corners of the globe. Regardless of where they live, they are still proud Estonians.

I belong to this Estonian diaspora and even though I was born in Australia I grew up with Estonian culture and a deep love of my ancestral homeland. I identify as Estonian because my family are and it has always been a part of me. Most of the things I do regarding Estonia, namely this blog, is in honour of my Estonian grandparents. I know they would be very proud that I have reconnected with my roots and claimed my Estonian citizenship. 

Estonian citizenship can be acquired but is a lengthy process. This is a good thing because Estonian citizenship should not been taken lightly. You need to prove that you are willing to contribute to society and respect Estonia's customs and traditions. I commend anyone who can master the Estonian language and is willing to brave the harsh cold winters! Good luck to them!

More information about Estonian citizenship can be found here: Estonian citizenship

Monday, 5 November 2018

'Europe Now' visits Estonia

Every month France 24's TV programme 'Europe Now' visits a different European Union country. This month they are in Estonia! The episode features a range of interesting topics including interviews with President Kaljulaid, Urmas Paet, Marten Kaevats and Ilmar Raag.

Saturday, 3 November 2018

Estonian comedy with Märt Avandi and Ott Sepa

Before his success in the 2015 film The Fencer (Vehkleja) actor Märt Avandi teamed up with fellow Estonian comedian Ott Sepa to produce the comedy series Tujurikkuja. The show ran from 2008  until 2015 and can be viewed in HD on YouTube.. Sepa is also known for his lead role in the 2005 comedy hit Malev.

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Apotheka e-apteek TV Commercial

There has been a lot of talk about this Estonian TV commercial recently. Some people love it whilst other are not too keen on it. It's quite long for a TV commercial but at least its getting the desired attention. Take a look!

Friday, 26 October 2018

Gingerbread Mania names this year's theme 'Eesti'

This year's Gingerbread Mania exhibution has been dedicated to the Republic of Estonia's 100th birthday. The official theme title is 'Eesti' and is sure to include many wonderful delights. No official photographs of the display has been released as yet but it's sure to be great as always!

Gingerbread Mania is located at Pärnu mnt 6 in Tallinn and runs from 6th December 2018 - 6th January 2019. For more information please refer to the official website Piparkoogimaania