(Estonian Open Air Museum)
Want to step back in time? Go to the Estonian Open Air Museum. Bring a lunch because it will take all day to see the entire 195 acres that comprises the museum. It is a life-sized reconstruction of an 18th century rural/fishing village. It comes complete with a church, schoolhouse, an inn, several mills, a fire station and 12 farm yards. Every weekend, there is a local dance group that comes to perform the old folk dances and songs of times long ago and lucky us, we just happened to be there when they were performing. I can try to describe it, but the video will do it better.
This is a cute courting dance. If a girl can steal a boys stick, he can only reclaim it by giving a kiss. Below is more of the same.
I'm not sure what this one above was about, but it looks like the women have corralled a horse.
A fun little folk dance with pairs and couples.
I got pulled into this dance above. You know I can't resist a good polka, or whatever it was. They came and grabbed me and before I knew it, I was in the dance (just look for the back of my head). That BYU Folk Dancing class I took 40 years ago came in handy.
A women's dance. I wasn't invited. I put this in so you could see all the various colors of their costumes. It is so fun to see the different styles from the various regions of Estonia.
Not the Virginia Reel, but something like it, I suppose.
It's kinda long, but the story line is this: The man is looking for a needle. Notice how he looks for it. At some point the "needle" is discovered and she tries to get away but is eventually caught.
OK, I get caught again. This time, I don't have time to pass off the camera to Sister Allred as she was caught also. This is really fun.
After the dancers were through, we toured most of the displays. The houses and barns are from the 18th and 19th century and were rebuilt here or transported here from other areas. As you can see from the pictures below, this land is so green and lush and very rich in culture. We saw a video portrayal of Estonian courting and wedding customs of the early 19th century. It was quite entertaining. The grooms father would usually come and arrange for the engagement by placing a bottle of vodka on the table. If the girl's father drank from it, then the proposal was accepted. Later on, when the wedding was set, the intended groom would come to look for the bride and would have to search the house for her as she would be in hiding. Sometimes, decoy women (usually female relatives) were presented as the bride to throw the groom off track. Once found, the bride would be whisked off for a "makeover" at the sauna. She would then be adorned with the traditional headdress and apron of a married woman.
|Married woman with headdress and apron|
|Wind mill for grinding grain|
|This is actually a sauna|
|Inside the barn|
|Typical stone fence. It's found everywhere.|