Kiigepüha (the Spring is Finally Here)!

Ostara illustration Inkscape

Kiigepüha (Estonian word, literally meaning “Swing Holiday) or munapüha (“Egg Holiday”) is a festival for Estonian native faith maausk (“earth faith”) which timing overlaps with the time of the Easter. Kiigepüha celebrates the beginning of spring. And therefore my unfinished drawing is trying to feature the Spring growing plants.

Like other holidays and festivals, Kiigepüha also has many traditions and symbols. Many of them are common with other European people.

Thursday before Kiigepüha is the day for the great spring cleaning. But don’t worry if you can’t do it in Thursday (if you must work, for example), then the Saturday is also suitable for that.

In Saturday it’s time to boil eggs and prepare a feast. You should also go to sauna to cleanse your body and soul.

Sunday is the day of magic. You should wake early, before sunrise and go to swinging. In the old days, people gathered to swing and sing together (in Estonia we have these large wooden village swings that you can see in the pictures below). It was believed, that swinging cleans your body and brings you good luck. Therefore, in some places even sick people were taken to swinging. In Sunday it is forbidden to work and clean rooms.

Symbols of Kiigepüha are of course egg and bunny. With colouring the eggs you celebrate the rebirth of nature. The egg is an ancient symbol of fertility, birth and life and the rabbit also represent the fertility.

Happy Spring everyone! 🙂

I’ve used photos of these websites:

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17 thoughts on “Kiigepüha (the Spring is Finally Here)!

    • Hi Margaret! 🙂

      Swinging with those gigantic swings is really fun. Do you have such swings in Australia also? I haven’t been thinking about it before, but it would be interesting to know how much these swings are common outside Estonia.

      Yes, it’s slowly getting warmer here and it’s so beautiful how nature gets greener every day and trees and flowers blossom. But you don’t need to worry, some months more and then it’s going to be opposite. 😀

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    • Sorry for so late reply, Myriam. Since the English is not my native language, it takes some time to write reasonable text. Thus, sometimes in busy days I think that I answer later when I have more time. But you know that human brain, it can so easily forget things. 🙂

      I’m happy you like the drawing. I hope to finish it some day, but at the moment I’m not sure about the background.

      About the swinging. I must admit that I only recently discovered these great traditions of Kiigepüha. I’m not a member of the “earth faith”, but as their traditions originate from the old Estonians and they worship nature, I respect them and feel close to them. In Estonia most of us celebrate Eastern similarly to other European people, usually we only colour and knock eggs. I find these Kiigepüha traditions interesting and wanted to share them with you. Now I understand that it leaves the impression like I wrote about my day. Actually no, I didn’t swing in this day (although I did the spring cleaning), but I am planning to take part of these swingings in the future. I totally love swinging, especially with these large swings. They are such fun! 🙂

      P.S. Sorry that my response is longer than the actual post. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Hanna :-). No worries about the late reply. Super nice of you to explain though (I reply very late sometimes with no explanation!). Even though English is my primary language, I find it hard to write blog comments when I am busy and stressed… even if it is just one or two lines! I really appreciate the thought you put into your comments. I admire how well you can express your thoughts and feelings in English even though it is not your native tongue.

        Thanks for explaining more about the “earth faith”. I do like celebrations that are close to nature. In Vancouver, my yoga friends liked to celebrate the two solstices (the longest and shortest days of the year). For the winter solstice, my Vancouver neighbourhood had an indoor labyrinth of lights.

        I had to look up egg knocking. I had no idea. Sounds like a lot of fun for kids! The Kiigepüha swing reminds me of when I was a kid visiting my grandmother and me and all my cousins (10 in all) would get on my grandmother’s double bench swing and the two biggest cousins would stand on the platform and get the swing to rock.

        I bet you will come up with a beautiful background for your drawing. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I love that you are celebrating the delight of spring with these beautiful Estonian swings woven with your words and illustrations. I grew up in America of Estonian heritage and one of my favorite songs was Kiigelaul (The Swing Song) … “igal oksal laululind” — on every branch a songbird. Thank you for kindling that memory!

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    • Oh, what a nice surprise it was finding this comment! 🙂

      Some of my relatives went also to America and Canada in the wartime, like many other Estonian. I remember last summer I met one friendly lady who also grew up in America and visited Estonia first time after childhood. It was so interesting to talk with her. Have you ever been in Estonia?

      I’m very happy I kindled your (hopefully good) memories. 🙂

      Thank you so much for stopping by! 🙂

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  2. Yes, I’ve been to Estonia twice, once almost 20 years ago right after the restored independence and then 4 years ago during the song festival. Because I’m a singer, the song festival was so awe-inspiring! I literally felt like I was lifted up into the air by all the vibrations! But I also enjoyed so many other parts of Estonia, especially Pärnu and Saaremaa the last time. I constantly miss the beautiful land and the sounds. I’ve been writing a lot about my connections to it (you can see some on my blog.)

    If your relatives ended up in America and Canada it’s not impossible our paths crossed!

    By the way, speaking of old traditions, with easter eggs, do you/did you do “muna koksimine”? (egg knocking)

    Also, your English is so good! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • The song festival truly is magnificent. I can only imagine what experience it could be to sing there. 🙂

      Yes, egg knocking! I didn’t know the right word and therefore I couldn’t write about that. The egg knocking is the main tradition with the egg colouring. I believe most of Estonians still knock eggs during the Easter. 😀

      My English is good only when I’m reading and quite okay in hearing. But it’s not very easy for me to express myself, therefore I use Google translate as my assistant (which always doesn’t help like in the case of the word “koksima”). Speaking is the worst, I need a lot of practice. 😀

      If you prefer, we can write in Estonian, it would be lot easier to me. 😀

      Like

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