1. You eat your fish with milk and your sausage with blood.
You like fish and milk, and you love kala piimasupp, a fish milk soup made with potatoes, milk, onions, and lots of fish. You usually eat it in the summer, because in the winter you switch to delicious verivorst, a traditional Christmas blood sausage.
2. You love singing more than an average person. Singing is in your blood.
And we’re not talking about the ‘sing in the shower’ type, either. No, you take singing very, very seriously. You’ve participated in your school’s choir and have even gone to the Laulupidu in Tallinn, because that’s where everyone goes. If you’re lucky, you’ve stayed in a nearby Pirita hotell, but more likely you slept on the floor of a middle school sporting hall instead, along with your fellow thirty choristers.
3. You get a chance to dress like a witch in the middle of spring.
Yes, you love the imported witch holiday, Halloween, and take part in it every October. But you are even more enthusiastic about volbriöö, the Walpurgis Night celebration on the eve before May 1st. You dress up like a witch with zest, drink beer at the park from an open container, wander around, and of course, sing in the streets.
4. You prefer to meet Summer Equinox jumping through bonfire.
Because you like to mix up the old pagan rituals with the more recent Christian ones, you jump through the fire to scare off the evil spirits and go looking for wild fern blossom on St John’s Day. You go bonkers to celebrate the day when the sun is at its peak, because the other 364 days the sun barely remembers your address.
5. You spent most of your childhood outside.
Especially in the summer, when the days never ended, you roamed the streets of your small sleepy town with your band of brothers and sisters in crime, running on garage roofs, climbing the apple trees and trying to soak in the sun before it disappeared for another year.
6. Picking fresh berries all summer long and mushrooms in the fall is your national pastime.
You have scavenged Estonia’s forests for blueberries and its swamps for cloudberries. You’ve enjoyed cowberry ice cream and jam as a child. Your obsession with berries has been validated when you read Naksitrallid and learned that it’s perfectly normal to grow them in your puffy beard.
7. You put out your slippers on window sill come December 1st.
Because that’s when Päkapikks, little Estonian elves, might come visit!
8. You’ve participated in the Tartu Ski Marathon at least once.
Because our summers are short and our winters are excruciatingly long, we have learned to enjoy many types of cold weather activities, especially skiing. We go through pre-requisite skiing classes in school and have mandatory skiing hours to log by the end of winter. Tartu Marathon counts!
9. You get excited when you see sweet curd in stores.
You don’t know why, but you have an inexplicable love for kohuke. You have eaten this sweet treat of chocolate-covered curd as a child and continue eating it as an adult. There are many different fillings, but your favorite kohuke is always the plain one.
10. You think that classical music is not just for boring people.
Sure, you may have been dragged to your first chamber style performance in a cozy concert hall by your classically oriented mom, but by age 14 you and your friends regularly frequent these ‘joints’ by your own volition.
11. You invariably have a home or a relative in the küla — the country farm sitting somewhere idyllic on one of 1,200 Estonian lakes.
Your parents and grandparents spend most of their free time there, and you join them when you grow up to jump through the fire, dance and sing, as your ancestors have been doing for centuries.
12. You know how to make Rhubarb pie.
Rhubarb grows in your backyard, and your mom’s kitchen cupboard holds at least one jar of last year’s rhubarb jam. Come spring, you whip up a delicious rabarberikook and serve it with straight black coffee because you want those snow banks (that are still as high as Suur Munamägi) to melt already.
13. You take pride in the fact that your country is one of the most digitally advanced nations in the world.
You tell your non-Estonian friends that Estonia is the first country to implement online voting, digitize public government services, and offer residency to anyone in the world regardless of country of origin. You and your five other friends work in or have started Estonian IT sector. To dispel the persistent belief that ‘Estonians are slow,’ you point out that you are now testing LiFi in Tallinn. As if it wasn’t impressive already, you remind us that you have invented Skype. And that is how you put the ‘e’ in Estonia. #EstonianMafia
Photo: Rain Rannu