Thursday, 30 April 2020

Jõgeva furniture factory now produces face masks

With the coronavirus continuing to spread throughout the world, the demand for face masks is on the rise. Some countries like Germany have made it compulsory to wear face masks in public when visiting shops or travelling on public transport and the penalty for flauting the rules is a 150€ on the spot fine. There is growing frustration among consumers who attempt to buy masks only to discover they are sold out. An Estonian furniture company called Softcom is attempting to solve that problem by producing masks of their own. The company has invested in machinery from China and has the capacity to produce four million masks per month. This is great news for Estonian residents who no longer have to rely on foreign imports.

You can learn more about Softcom's mask production via their recent interview with ERR News.

Monday, 27 April 2020

Konrad Mägi documentary by Marianne Kõrver

Konrad Mägi was one of the first modernist painters in Estonia and often considered to be the most important painter in the history of Estonian art. His paintings of landscapes and portraits are highly accliamed for their sensitive use of colour. Interest in Konrad Mägi work has grown in Europe since the end of the 2010s where his works have been on display in Rome, Paris and most recently in Torino.

This documentary film by Marianne Kõrver, was made for the Konrad Mägi exhibition "The Light of the North" that was held in Torino Musei Reali from 2019-2020. 

Tuesday, 21 April 2020

Preserve your precious family photos

As we are all in lockdown due to the coronavirus, now is a good time to go through your old family photos and make sure they are in good order. The Photo Museum in Tallinn recently made a video showing different ways to preserve your precious family photos. They are absolutely worth preserving for the future generations.

One thing I would place great importance on in preserving photographs is to label them. On the back write the names of the people present in the photo and the location. Very often we have no idea who some of the people in our family photos are so it is best to provide as much information as possible for the generations to come.

Here is a photo of my great-grandparents (right) with my great-grandmother's family.

My great-grandparents (centre and right)

My great-grandfather with my great-grandmother, his brother (Hans Lesthal), 
sister-in-law (Annette Lesthal) and nephew (Ralf Lesthal).

My great-grandmother's cousins who worked for the Red Cross during World War One.

My grandfather Alexander with cousins from his mother's family.
Sadly I don't know any of their names.

Member's of my great-grandmother's family. 
I know few of these peoples' names.
That's why you need to write on the back of photos!

Saturday, 18 April 2020

University of Tartu scientists develop coronavirus antibody detection test

Great news! Scientists from the Institute of Biomedicine and Translational Medicine at the University of Tartu have developed a test to determine whether someone had been infected with the coronavirus and developed immunity to it. The antibody tests will be available soon.

To read the full article, please click here;
University of Tartu scientists develop COVID-19 antibody detection test

Thursday, 16 April 2020

Lennart Meri documentary: Dances for The Milky Way

Lennart Meri was a much-loved Estonian president who held office from 1992 to 2001. Prior to this he was a talented writer, filmmaker, translator and historian. 'Dances for the Milky Way' is a documentary by director Jaak Lõhmus that takes a look into the life of this great Estonian.

Wednesday, 15 April 2020

Coronavirus: Life on Estonia's 'corona island'

Estonians living on the island of Saaremaa became infected with the coronavirus after a volleyball team from Milan came to play a match. The BBC recently visited Saaremaa to make the following report.

Tuesday, 14 April 2020


Here's a cleverly written and performed piece of music by Duo Ruut. 'Tuule Sõnad' means Words of the Wind.

Sunday, 12 April 2020

Häid Munadepühasid! Happy Easter!

There are several ways to say 'Happy Easter' in Estonian.

The most formal name for Easter is 'Ülestõusmispüha' the term literally translates as 'Resurrection holiday'. Then there is the less formal 'Lihavõtted' that means 'meat taking' referring to the end of lent when you can eat meat again. My preferred way to say Easter is 'Munadepühasid' as it relates to eggs and means 'egg holiday'. There are several ways you can wish someone a happy Easter using this term - 'Häid Munadepühasid', Ilusaid Munadepühasid or Rõõmsaid Munadepühasid. 

So however you wish to say it, I wish you all a happy, joyful and beautiful Easter!

Saturday, 11 April 2020

Five things Estonians like to do at Easter

Now that Easter has officially begun let's take a look at how Estonians celebrate it. Estonia is no longer a religious country like it was prior to World War Two but it does observe ancient pagan traditions such as Easter. 

Here are five things Estonians like to do at Easter.

1. Paint eggs, decorate eggs, and eat eggs. Estonians like to make marbled eggs coloured by boiling them in onion skins.

2. Cook delicious desserts such as Pasha or kringle.

3. Send an Easter greeting card.

4. Play games. The two most popular Easter games in Estonia is the egg knocking game or rolling coloured eggs down an incline/ramp. If you manage to touch one of the other eggs. You win.

5. Some Estonians might go to church but for the majority prefer a nice family lunch with colourful table decorations.

Friday, 10 April 2020

Happy birthday Mama

Today is my mother's birthday. She would have turned seventy-one had she not passed away unexpectedly last August. My heart is still heavy at her loss but at least she appears in my dreams from time to time and this comforts me. This morning I lit candles in her memory. Puhka rahus.

Monday, 6 April 2020

Ensuring the survival of the Estonian people is more important than the economy

Former Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves was recently interviewed on the Hommik Anuga program and reiterated what every Estonian instinctively knows - 'Ensuring the survival of the Estonian people takes precedence over the economy.' 

To read more about the interview, please click on the below link.
Ilves: Ensuring survival of the Estonian people more important than economy

Video: 'Käpapuu' by Puuluup

For a bit of light entertainment, here is a new release by Estonian band Puuluup. Puuluup is a duo consisting of Ramo Teder and Marko Veisson. Their music is based on tradition and folklore and revives the talharpas, a traditional instrument strung with horsehair. 

Thursday, 2 April 2020

How to make your own face masks to protect yourself against the coronavirus

With the continuing spread of the coronavirus, many people are finding it difficult to find face masks in pharmacies and shops. An alternative is to make your own. The Estonian Consumer Protection and Technical Regulatory Authority recommends that we all wear face masks in public. Today they released simple instructions how to make your own face mask. The text is in Estonian with photos enabling all to understand.