Guest Post By Valev Laube.
There has been many articles about Estonia being one of the less religious countries in the world. Statistics say that Estonia has 84% lack of importance of Religion, it’s the biggest in Europe.
Yes, as an Estonian I can say that statistic is mostly correct and Estonia is not very religious country, but maybe Estonians have their own religion in a different way?
Religion has unite a lot of people, but it has been also an initiative to start a war. Mostly if a country is religious and if there is only some different believes then it unites people. Religion creates common understandings and some basic rules about life. Common believes can also create spirit of being one nation and keeping it.
If we talk about Estonia, then usually we cannot talk about main religious believes or big problems between different religions. Usually the reason why Estonians kept their traditions and national symbols also in Soviet Union time was totally different. The reason why Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians stood hand by hand and created Baltic Way was that those countries have similar history. The reason why Estonians started to sing together in the National Song Festivals was that we have same traditions, we have songs that said all the bad words that we were not allowed to say in the USSR.
Nowadays when Estonia is independence and have not anymore that kind of problems, the spirit of our traditions still stay in a valuated position. Every summer there is about 20 camps all over the country where young students can start to learn Estonian traditional music, songs and dances. Some of the camps are smaller and some of them are by as the Folk Music Camp in Võru country. On 2012 the camp had about 130 contenders, from 6 different countries.
As in some other countries, there are religious lessons being a part of school educational system. In Estonia most of the schools don’t provide religious Instruction lessons, but we have Estonian traditional music lessons in most of the children music schools. Can we compare those two things? If religious instruction lessons teaches students main things about life, about caring others and making choices, then maybe in Estonia teaching old Estonian traditions, music and dances, makes the same things. Student can study how Estonians respected food. For example, if bread fall down from a table, then Estonians usually kissed a bread and put it back on the table. They never didn’t throw away something so important as a bread, because they believed that if you throw away it once then you will never get the luck of having food on your table back.
I think that it is really similar to religious view. That kind of old stories teaches to care other people, to respect them and to help them. It doesn’t matter if the story is about God or it is about bread, it has the same good wisdom to give.
This post is written by Valev Laube who is a Estonian, studying in United World College of Adriatic. Interests Include: Politics, student activism, Folk music, Designing, Computers.