Newsletter of the Fenno-Ugria Foundation. Tallinn. In Estonian

No. 2, 1997

On the Day of the Mari Hero
and the Cheremiss Wars

Jaak Prozes gives a historical overview of the Cheremiss Wars (1552–1584), the period of struggle for independence of the Mari (Cheremiss) people that was finally lost to the Russian Empire. April 26, the day when the Mari leader Boltush was killed in 1553 (according to other sources, in 1556), is since 1917 celebrated as the Day of the Mari Hero.

On teaching the traditional culture (not only) at the schools of Võrumaa

Marju Kõivupuu shares her experience in teaching the traditional local culture. When dealing with the local lore, claims Kõivupuu, the teacher should always stress to the children that they are a part in the chain of carrying on the tradition. At the same time one must realise that the local lore undergoes changes in the course of time and hence not cling to prehistoric traditions as the only authentic source.

The Fenno-Ugria Foundation celebrated its 70th anniversary

by holding a seminar on education in the vernacular. The seminar (May 26 to 30) was held for representatives of educational establishments and ministries of education of the Finno-Ugric republics of Russia. At the festive meeting on May 27, Finno-Ugric contacts throughout the past 70 years were recited. The materials of Fenno-Ugria were put at an exhibition at the Academic Library. The Fenno-Ugria Foundation was established on 27 May 1927 in Tallinn by a group of Estonian scientists, politicians and economists with the aim to provide support for Finno-Ugric cultural congresses and promote relations between Estonia and other Finno-Ugric peoples.

No. 3, 1997

An Estonian at the wedding of a Mari and an Udmurt

Aleksandr, a Mari youth, and Valentina, an Udmurt girl, both exchange-students in Estonia, married last summer. Harvet Toots describes their wedding ceremonies as seen with the eyes of an Estonian. The wedding started in Udmurtia where the family of the bridegroom, according to an ancient custom, arrived to fetch the bride. Accompanied by the bride’s family, the wedding company then rode in a bus and three cars to the bridegroom’s home in Mari El where the party continued. Wedding customs of the Maris and the Udmurts go so well together that they could be combined. An Estonian guest noted no disharmony between the two traditions. “It would be impossible to see anything like what I experienced in Mari El and Udmurtia during the three wedding days, either on television or at a folk culture festival in Estonia, since everything was genuine in its natural environment.”

Art Students
in Permian Komi villages

Kadri Viires, head of expeditions at the Estonian Academy of Arts, describes the ethnographic expedition to the Permian Komis undertaken by thirteen art students of the Academy in June 1997. The students sketched and photographed items of folk art and commodities of traditional design in Kudymkar Regional Museum and in Komi villages. In the article K. Viires also describes the living conditions and miserable economic situation of the local people. Despite the noted conditions, the Estonian students were received quite well and were assisted by everybody – including the local administration and enterprises – in their work. The tradition of ethnographic expeditions to the Finno-Ugric peoples of Russia was initiated by Professor Kaljo Põllu in 1978. A larger exhibition of all materials collected on the expeditions is planned to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the first expedition in the spring 1998.