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Culture & Identity of Estonia

Introduction

Much of Estonia's population lives in Tallinn or another city and the urban life dictates much of the daily way of life in the country. Of course, the northern position of the country also contributes significantly as agriculture only makes up a small percentage of the jobs.

Most working Estonians have jobs in the services sector, which includes a huge range of positions. There are some jobs in the industry sector, but not a huge percentage. For most of these jobs, the hours are somewhat regular so the people tend to have a fairly regular schedule. Many jobs begin at about 8:00 am and run until about 5:00 pm. Likewise, schools run from about the same time, but generally get off in the early to midafternoon.

Most evenings and weekends are spent with family or friends. Families with children often spend weeknights in the home eating dinner and finishing school work. Weekends and vacation times are occupied with any number of things depending on a person's individual tastes and interests. Vacation days are generous in Estonia and people love to use their weekends and vacation times with family in the city, out in nature, exploring a new place, or just relaxing at home. During the warm summer months it's common to get outside, especially considering the long dark winters when many people feel trapped inside for months.

The nightlife in Estonia is somewhat calm, but in Tallinn there is a noticeable night life as restaurants, bars, and dance clubs can be found. These places are often visited by young singles, but restaurants also fill up with families. During the longest day light days of the year it seems everyone is outside celebrating.

Identity

Estonians identify as Estonians, which is a term generally defined by their ethnicity, language, and their history. Estonia has been under foreign rule through much of time and, while this has encouraged nationalistic feelings, it has also stolen much of who the people once were. Due to this, the ethnic Estonians are proud of their ethnicity, language, foods, culture, and anything that makes then unique. The term Estonian is also tied to these ethnic and cultural differences, not the country; a person of a different ethnicity living in Estonia (such as an ethnic Russian) is generally not included in this definition, but is instead identified by their ethnicity.

This page was last updated: November, 2013