reede, mai 03, 2013

high and holy

It's always a big come down being back, I don't mean an emotional come down though Estonia can be pretty boring and lonely, but, you know everywhere with me is boring and lonely at least some of the time ... I once sat on the steps of the New York Public Library on a Saturday afternoon watching the automobiles fling by, my God, never been lonelier, but wait! The come down, yes ... I love the way the Finnish air bathes me on the bus from the airport to the plane, it's cool, mild, relaxing, like peppermint astringent, that refreshing, you know, a nice, cool, longdrink of a refreshment, spiced with clarity, purity, holiness, saintliness ...

... Lots of religious thoughts these days (not me, no, no conversion for me, never) They asked me what my faith was in Bali, I told them Catholic, not that I am one, but I once was one, and to-date, it's been my most enduring exposure to faith, which is why I feel I must tell SOMEBODY about EVERY bad deed I've ever done, because Confession is in my nature, though I still cannot figure Christianity out {HE LOVES US, but WE MUST FEAR HIM???} I'm sure I just got it all wrong the first time and it all makes sense. Maybe Pope Emeritus Benedict 16's book contains some clues, helpful hints ...

... The Balinese are Hindus with a tiny Muslim minority and though everybody's good pals, officially, you can tell that they don't take the Muslims very seriously, or that they see them as ridiculous, with their evening prayers and non-pork eating [this in a land of daily flower and incense and fruit offerings to the many Hindu Gods, where cows roam free, swinging their tails at flies] Can't say "on sul hästi hästi" to the Muslims, they must be addressed with Selamat Tinggal. I kept thinking of Cat Stevens/Yusef Islam and Kätlin Mrabte, author of Minu Maroko, Gentile converts to Muhammedism and the thought that I was thinking was, "What, the hell were they thinking?" But here I am purchasing my copy of the Ramayana, so who am I to speak? Our taxi driver had what appeared to be large grains of salt pasted to his forehead. Must have been another high holy Hindu day ...

The Estonians claim to not be religious ... pure bunk, bullshit, jama. Explain to me all of your holy days then, my post-Soviet atheist friends ... Where were we? Oh, yes ...

  • Vastlapäev (Shrove Tuesday, celebrated by sledding, eating rolls filled with whipped cream)
  • Jüripäev (Saint George's Day, April 23, celebrated by burning manor houses, killing landlords)
  • Jaanipäev (the big one, Saint John's Day, June 24, celebrating by eating grilled meats, leaping over bonfires)
  • Hingedepäev (All Souls' Day, Nov. 2, celebrated by lighting candles)
  • Mardipäev (Saint Martin's Day, Nov. 11, celebrated by cross dressing)
  • Kadripäev (Saint Catherine's Day, Nov. 25, also celebrated by cross dressing)
  • Luutsipäev (Saint Lucy's Day, Dec. 13, also celebrated by lighting candles)
... about the cross dressing, each year our house is stormed by Kadrisantid (boys dressed up like Saint Catherine) and Mardisantid (girls dressed up like Saint Martin) and they come inside our house with their raggedy old dresses or ashy mustaches and do a little dance called the kaerajaan - "Kaerajaan, Kaerajaan!" -- they fold their arms and put one foot in front of the other while remaining in place ...  If we are feeling particularly magnanimous, we reward our visitors with a little piece of fruit or a candy. And these people claim to have no affinity with religion?

So, next time an Estonian tries to tell you he's not religious, don't question his lack of faith. Simply cross your arms and put one foot in front of the other and sing, "Kaerajaan, kaerajaan." See if he doesn't join you.

10 kommentaari:

Marko ütles ...

I think that Estonians are not very big on bullshit, and if thr Church would cut out the bullshit you would have more people claiming their Christian heritage. You should also look at the historic relationship between Christianity and the people of this land. First of all we were crusaded against, so for many it will always remain as a symbol of violence, a tool for evil. But Estonians love a good party and Christianity gave us new opportunities to celebrate, to have a laugh, to have a drink, to crossdress, you name it. You could say we adobted the good and fun bits, but left out the grim stuff - original sin, feeling bad about yourself, confession, etc. I think Russow's chronicle describes it best. While the rest of Europe joined in with the Spanish inquisition, common people in Estonia celebrated their Midsummer at church yards, they sang, they drunk, they danced and did even some "ungodly" stuff, Lol.

Anonüümne ütles ...

As a long time reader of your blog I thought I would just venture an opinion,

I think there is a difference between organized religion and spiritualism with Estonians falling into the latter. Although the holidays you have highlighted have religious roots they are not celebrated as such (at least not any more). As someone who was raised in Estonia I remember all of the holidays as opportunities to either socialize or reflect, I was never aware of their true origins or significance.

Spiritual yes, you only have to walk through the well-taken care of cemeteries on November 2nd to observe this but religious? I have not met many Estonians who go to church on Sunday.

Rainer ütles ...

You forgot to mention Rukkimaarjapäev, Ussimaarjapäev, etc - the days dedicated to the Blessed Virgin. Estonians readily accepted those festivities, since they saw the land itself as female, a motherly being. So Terra Mariana wasn't such a sour deal for them after all.

Rainer ütles ...

Positively conceptualist and definitely blasphemous

LPR ütles ...

I belive the word "fear" is the closest they could come up by way of translation. Fear is such a dull word. The actual meaning is deeper and once you "feel" it you'd know that "fear" is not the word. It is a dumb word to express it. Yes, it is in the bible, but bible was written by humans. Dumb creatures with limited understanding and vocuabulary. So don't get hung on that word too much. Let the spirit quide you to the understanding. No words can describe it.

Being Catholic or or Lutheran ... to me it is akin to, weel you drive a car, which state did you get your driver's license in? Oh, you dont have one? But you can still drive, right? Who's to say you even need a license to know how to drive, or to drive at all? Just drive. Experience God. Don't "fear" anything.

Martasmimi ütles ...

Hey you made your first communion... because I felt that I needed to at least give you a beginning.
We only went to church on Christmas.
Then you became all hyper focused on what you were.
I came home one day and you were searching in the phone book for a Church.
So off we went to the Historic Caroline Church (Episcopal) due only to your need to be a "something".
... now you are Catholic as in Roman ?

Giustino ütles ...

Truth be told, I'm really not sold on the idea that Jesus was the son of God. So where does that leave me? But it is very easy for me to read books by Catholic writers -- James Joyce, for instance -- and understand what they are talking about.

LPR ütles ...

What I like about christianity is the fact that it is very safe to ponder whether Jesus was or was not the Son of God. Try to question whether Muhhammad was a prophet or just some historical figure... or a plain asshole when it came to underage girls.

One thing about Jesus I know for sure is that he would have not endorsed all these fancy churches Catholics and others have built in his honor.

He would also shrug at seeing the Pope's oversized hat. Where in the scripture were the specs for that?


Is that what I came to tell you guys, he might say. Is this how you interpret my message and try to comply? You still don't know what you are doing, do you?
Its not that I mind the hat or your taste in architecture, it is that I am just worried that you keep forgetting what the message is.

Thank you for the elaborate rituals, but one could just sit on the rock and talk to me directly any time ... no paraphenalia or pre packaged prayers required....

In that sense I personally like baptists the most... but I do not associate myself with them. Some of their fervor gets to me in a bad way ...

Faith is such a personal things. Practicing it in a group setting is like partaking in an orgy ... I feel exposed every time I try to do it. Attending the group prayer I mean ... :-) Maybe something for me to find out and to get used to. I might like it.

Martasmimi ütles ...

Justin says:

* Truth be told, I'm really not sold on the idea that Jesus was the son of God.

I agree, he Jesus might have been a special man with a great message and some good rules to live by, but the Fathers, Son & Holy Spirit thing has always confused me.

Liivimaa parim ratsutaja :

With the exception of your take on the Baptists I pretty much agree with what you said here, especially about the huge golden palaces and ornate garb within the Church of Rome or many Organized houses of worship. It's like driving ones Bentley thru the slums of India or Mexico. How do you justify all this "flash" in the eyes of the poor on this planet.

LPR ütles ...

They say, it is a gift to understand that. You simply have not received that gift. As we know, receiving or not receiving a gift does not make anyone better nor worse. Usually people get gifts when they ask for them. By not asking is not making anyone a bad person either. Shy maybe and that's the extent of it.

But as usual, be careful what you wish for because you may get it too.

With gifts come responsiblities too.

Responsiblities that ... well, are responsiblities. Who needs responsiblities on top of the ones we already have, right? :-)

Blessed are the ignorant, as they say. The suicide bombers for example are ignorant. That ignorance allows them to so easily without any qualms to do what they do. They do not have ... responsibilities.

There is a lightness of being ... ignorant.

Now did that change your understanding of the word "blessed" or what?

See, the language is such a dull tool to explain those things ... obviously, we use the word "blessed" in a totally different context when we think about it in one known and accepted dimension. But there are others.

Devil also has a way to ... "bless" ... the ignorant.

Not to make a point that you are on your way to strap on the vest or anyting, G. :-) Just that don't worry about not understangind the Holy Trinity. Which you are not. Which is good. There is time.

Meil on aega veel, meil on aega veel ...

Just balbbering, as usual. I have nothing to say. LOL