Estonian culture as an identity is very strong. Oral traditions especially have played a key role in preserving traditions, stories and customs during Soviet administration. Singing is a very Estonian activity and the Estonians are known to have sung their way to freedom during the “Singing Revolution” of 1989-91.
The culture of Estonia combines an indigenous heritage, represented by the country’s Uralic national language Estonian, with Nordic cultural aspects. Due to its history and geography, Estonia’s culture has been influenced by the traditions of the adjacent area’s Baltic Finns, Balts, Germanic peoples and Slavs, as well as by cultural developments in the former dominant powers, Sweden and Russia. Traditionally, Estonia has been seen as an area of rivalry between western and eastern Europe on many levels. An example of this geopolitical legacy is an exceptional combination of multiple nationally-recognized Christian traditions: Western Christianity (the Catholic Church and the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church) and Eastern Christianity (the Orthodox Church).
The symbolism of the border or meeting of east and west in Estonia was well illustrated on the reverse side of the 5 krooni note. Like the mainstream cultures in the other Nordic countries, Estonian culture can be seen to build upon ascetic environmental realities and traditional livelihoods, a heritage of comparatively widespread egalitarianism arising out of practical reasons (see freedom to roam and universal suffrage), and the ideals of closeness to nature and self-sufficiency.
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