Monday, 24 February 2020

Happy Independence Day! Ilust iseseisvumispäeva!

Today we celebrate the 102nd birthday of our beautiful Estonian republic. Happy Independence Day everyone! Ilust iseseisvumispäeva! Elagu Eesti! 

If you are interested in knowing how to play the Eesti Hymm (national anthem) on the piano, this video will help you learn!

Friday, 21 February 2020

Estonia's up-and-coming athlete: Karl Erik Nazarov

I was thrilled to read in the press this week that a new sporting record was achieved by my cousin's son Karl Erik Nazarov. At the Estonian Indoor Championships that were held in Tallinn, twenty-year old Karl set the Estonian record in the mens 60m sprint race at 6.68. The previous record holder for that event was set by Argo Golberg in 2003 at 6.71. For seventeen years no-one could beat that time, until now.

Karl is on fire this season. Earlier this month he set another record at the Martin Kutman Memorial Competition in Tartu. He set the new U23 class record in the 60m hurdles at 7.84, beating his uncle's record of 7.95. The previous best time was 7.93.

Karl and his uncle Andrei at an awards ceremony last year

Until last summer, Karl's coach was his uncle Andrei Nazarov,  a former decathlete who represented Estonia in several Olympic Games. Karl is strongly focused on his passion for sprinting and hurdles and, with the aid of his new coach Liivi Eerik, he is sure to achieve many more great things in the future. 

Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Jaan Kross: one of Estonia's most accomplished authors

Today marks the 100th anniversary of Estonian writer Jaan Kross’ birth. Kross is a grand figure in Estonian literature and the author of several seminal novels including Between Three Plagues and The Czar’s Madman. On several occasions, Jaan Kross was among the nominees of the Nobel Prize in Literature for his work.

Jaan Kross was born in Tallinn on 19th February 1920. He attended the Jakob Westholm Grammar School and later studied at the University of Tartu. During the German and Soviet occupations of Estonia, he was arrested several times on the grounds of being a nationalist. In 1947 The Soviets deported him to Northern Russia to work in mines and when he returned home in 1954 he became a writer.  Kross first wrote poetry before he started writing historic novels.

The 1978 novel The Czar's Madman is considered to be Kross' best work; it has been translated into several languages and received many awards.

In honour of Jaan Kross' 100th birthday Eesti Post has released a commemorative stamp.

Monday, 17 February 2020

Estonian Independence War Film

Estonian communities around the world will gather on the weekend to celebrate Estonia's Independence Day.  February 24 will mark the 102th birthday of the Estonian republic.

To see what events will take place in your area, please click here: EV 102 - ÜLEMAAILMNE

Friday, 14 February 2020

Head Valentinipäev! Happy Valentine's Day!

In Estonia February 14 is not just a romantic day exclusively for lovers but a time to celebrate good friendships as well. Exchanging gifts and cards is a nice way to express appreciation towards those you value in life and of course it's always fun to go out for dinner!

As a romantic at heart, I prefer Valentine's Day even though I celebrate both. My favourite romantic Estonian proverb is 'vana arm ei roosteta'  (old love doesn't rust). For if you truly love someone, you always love them, the love doesn't fade. People who find this kind of love are very lucky.

So whether you are celebrating Valentinipäev (Valentine's Day) or Sobrapäev (Friends Day) I wish you the very best!

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

Estonian twins became top developers of space technology at NASA

Here's an interesting article by Postimees about twin brothers Arthur and Edward Ruitberg who have spent their careers working for NASA. They both joined the organisation when they were 18 and left at retirement. What amazing things they would have seen!

To read the full article, please click here: Estonian twins’ incredible career at NASA

Friday, 7 February 2020

The most popular boys' names in Estonia

My sister recently announced that she and her husband are expecting their SEVENTH child. Thinking she was done at six, I was quite surprised by the news as it is rare for a couple to have so many children these days. My sister already has her hands full raising two boys and four girls, running the school's parents committee and caring for injured animals through her role at WIRES. Her house is always full of activity. The last time I visited she was caring for a baby kangaroo, five ducks, numerous lorikeets and a blue-tongue lizard! 

It has been revealed that my sister is expecting a little boy, due on the 27th of June. The amazing thing is, my sister's second eldest son celebrates his birthday on June 26 so there is a real possibility that these two future brothers could share the same birthday, even though they were born 14 years apart!

She is currently in search of baby names and naturally I will be suggesting Estonian ones! All her daughters' names begin with the letter 'L' and I've been told she currently favours boys' names beginning with 'J'.

According to the latest figures released by the Estonian statistics office, in 2019 there were 13,897 children born in Estonia. The most popular names for boys were; Robin - Hugo - Oliver - Rasmus - Martin - Robert - Kristofer - Sebastian - Mattias and Mark. Karl and Jakob were also in fashion.

When choosing a child's name, people often look for meaning. Here are a few names I will be suggesting to my sister.

Jukka - (Estonian for Richard) means 'strong ruler'.

Kaarel - (Estonian for Charles) means 'man'.

Andrus - (Estonian for Andrew) means 'brave'.

Leks/Leksik - (Estonian for Alexander) means 'defender of man'.

Mikk -  (Estonian for Michael) means 'God-like'.

Arri - means powerful leader.

Koit - means 'dawn'.

But as my sister prefers names starting with J, I will be suggesting names like Jaan, Janek, Juss, Juhan, Joosep or Joonas.

Monday, 3 February 2020

Estonian History Documentary: Heartsong

Heartsong is a touching documentary about Albert, an ex-farmer from Estonia who escaped the Soviet occpuation and started a new life in England.  Decades later he returned to the homeland to reconnect with his family and friends. The film was made before Estonia restored its independence in 1991.