Estonian dancers perform in Stettler County

The 100th Jaanipaev Celebration keeps ‘singing revolution’ alive

The Alberta Estonian Heritage Society (AEHS) celebrated 100 years of the first independence of Estonia at an all-day event in Stettler County.

About 300 people from across Canada attended the St. John’s Day Celebration on June 23 at Linda Hall complete with dancers from Estonia.

“It was a big feat to get two dancers from Estonia during the 100 Jaanipaev Celebration,” said AEHS President Kelly Schuler.

Many Estonian emigrants came to Stettler County in the early 1900s.

Former AEHS President Bob Tipman said his family came to Stettler County in 1902 and the family still owns the original homestead.

“In 1918, after the First World War, Estonia gained its first independence, which lasted until the Second World War,” said organizer Eda McClung. “Independence was regained in 1991, with the fall of the iron curtain. No blood was lost during that most recent independence push. Instead, the struggle was dubbed the ‘Singing Revolution.’”

The event included pioneer games, including throwing a rolling pin at ‘George,’ following Estonian folklore that ‘George’ stayed at the tavern until 4 a.m. and when he got home his wife threw a rolling pin at him, said Dean Kerbes, who helped organize the pioneer games.

Evelyn Shursen and Eva Triin Pehlak led the singing of the Canadian and Estonian National Anthems.

 

The Pana familiy from Estonia enjoys the Estonia Celebration in Stettler County June 23. They emigrated from Estonia to Calgary five years ago. (Lisa Joy/Black Press News Services)

Kaidi Phypres throws the rolling pin at ‘George’ during Estonia 100 Jaanipaev Celebration in Stettler County June 23. The game is part of Estonian folklore that ‘George’ stayed at the tavern until 4 a.m. and when he got home his wife threw a rolling pin at him. (Lisa Joy/Black Press News Services)

A rolling pin hits ‘George.’ In Estonian tradition women toss rolling pins at ‘George,’ who, as folklore goes, he came home from the tavern at 4 a.m. and was greeted by his wife throwing a rolling pin at him. (Lisa Joy/Black Press News Services)

Liisa Tipman, right, and Aili Kuutan participate in the pioneer game of log sawing during the Estonia Celebration in Stettler County June 23. Liisa lives in Calgary and her family still resides in Big Valley. Aili lives in Toronto and her family still resides in Big Valley. Liisa and Aili are cousins and descendants of the Tipman pioneer family. (Lisa Joy/Black Press News Services)

Tallin Hennel participates in hammering nails during the pioneer games in Stettler County June 23. (Lisa Joy/Black Press News Services)

Pat Melvin from Edmonton makes ice cream the old-fashioned way during the Alberta Estonia Heritage Society’s 100 Jaanipaev Celebration in Stettler County June 23. (Lisa Joy/Black Press News Services)

Rita Hennel enjoys a vanilla ice cream cone made onsite duirng the Estonia celebrations at Linda Hall in Stettler County June 23. (Lisa Joy/Black Press News Services)

Organizers of pioneer games, from left, Deane Kerbes, Don Hennel and Ron Hellel, during the Estonia 100 Jaanipaev Celebration at Linda Hall in Stettler County on June 23. (Lisa Joy/Black Press News Servcies)

Dancers Janne and Toomas Kuuskla from Estonia for the AEHS Estonia 100 Jaanipaev Celebration in Stettler County on June 23. (Lisa Joy/Black Press News Services)

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