Jõulude ja aastavahetuse traditsioonid Eestis

Missugused on eestlaste jõulu- ja aastavahetuse kombed? Mida eestlased söövad ja joovad, mida nad teevad detsembri lõpus, kui väljas on pime ja külm?

Vanasti kestsid jõulud 21. detsembrist kuni 6. jaanuarini. Jõuluaeg algas toomapäeval, 21. detsembril. Siis koristasid inimesed oma kodusid ja tegid jõulusööke. Toomapäev oli viimane tähtaeg, et maksta võlad ja tagastada laenatud asjad. Toad olid puhtad, toa põrandal olid õled. Jõulude ajal inimesed ei töötanud. Nad puhkasid ja mängisid õlgedel. Jõulude ajal inimesed olid oma perega, jõulud olid vaiksed pühad.

Jõululaupäev ehk jõuluõhtu on 24. detsembril. See on kõige tähtsam päev. Tänapäeval on toas jõulukuusk. Kuusel on ilusad ehted. Eestlased söövad jõuluks verivorsti ja hapukapsast. Laual on kindlasti ka piparkoogid. Jõuluõhtul tuleb jõuluvana, kes toob kingitusi. Lapsed laulavad jõuluvanale ja loevad luuletusi.

Vana aasta viimasel päeval käivad inimesed saunas, peolaual on palju toitu. Kui sa tahad teada, mis uuel aastal juhtub, siis vala õnne. Sulata tina ja vala see külma vette. Tinatüki kuju näitab, mis sind uuel aastal ootab.

Uusaastaööl on terve öö laual söögid ja joogid - siis on süüa ka järgmisel aastal. Esimesel jaanuaril on keelatud koristada - siis läheb rikkus majast välja. Uue aasta esimesel päeval tee seda, mida sa tahad kogu aasta teha.

Jõuluaja lõpetab kolmekuningapäev 6. jaanuaril. Sel päeval sõid eestlased veel jõulutoitu ja mängisid jõulumänge.

Tribe Theory not just a hostel to spend the night

Working for a long time in the finance sector in California, Vikram Bharati moved to Singapore three years ago and founded Tribe Theory – a chain of hostels conducive to building businesses and networks. The goals are ambitious – by 2030 there should be a Tribe Theory hostel in every major city in the world, in one hundred countries. The first hostel in Europe was opened in Tallinn Tallinn, the largest city and capital of Estonia (population 440 000). .

Vikram, first of all, would you introduce yourself and tell our readers a little about your background. What led you to founding the entrepreneurial ecosystem Tribe Theory?

My previous life was in banking. I spent 8 years in JPMorgan, doing client coverage, helping large companies with their banking. Then I decided to make a change and take my life in a different direction and have a sabbatical for six months. But I had so much fun, so I ended up backpacking for two years, travelling around the world! During that time, I was working on projects on my own, building a couple of startups in Bangkok and so on. 

While travelling, I met my wife Anna and I moved to Singapore because it was where she lived. So, I got a job here in a venture capital fund and I was offered an opportunity to run the funding for early stage startups. And during that time, I was thinking about my next adventure and I actually pitched the Tribe Theory idea to the same fund I was running: that we should create a new category of hostels where the purpose would be business building more than just a place to sleep. 

It would be for people who want to build a company or are thinking about creating something on their own. They liked the idea and I built a prototype hostel in Singapore. And it was working! So many interesting ideas, people and investment opportunities were coming through our spaces and we realised there’s something there. So, we started expanding – we opened in Bangalore, India, then Bali, then we went to Myanmar and now Tallinn Tallinn, the largest city and capital of Estonia (population 440 000). . We are opening up in Lisbon, Manila... The goal is to build a new brand of hospitality businesses around the world.

So it might happen that when you stay in Tribe hostels, you could pitch your business idea or find a partner to build something together?

The concept is that in each place, the environment is very conducive for building a business, building things. From the events we organise and networking that happens to eventually the people who stay there – they all try to build things. We want every space to be an ecosystem and instead of doing it in a co-working space, we do it in hostels where ideas and people are moving around and we want to capture that.

Can just travellers stay in these hostels or is it strictly for startuppers?

Yes, absolutely, we don’t have any restrictions! In some of our spaces – like Tallinn Tallinn, the largest city and capital of Estonia (population 440 000). for instance – up to 80% of visitors are in that category but other places it’s more like 20-30%. We have been open in Tallinn Tallinn, the largest city and capital of Estonia (population 440 000). for 6 months now and we see a clear opportunity to increase the number of young entrepreneurs staying with us.

Usually all the great startup ideas come from personal needs or problems that a person needs to solve. How about you – did you get your idea while travelling?

Indeed, while solo-travelling in over 50 countries, I always stayed in hostels and met so many people around the world. I built a massive network of friends around the world. I genuinely fell in love with the idea of hostelling, but the thing that was missing was that everywhere I went, every single space was targeted towards travel and tourism – city walks and pub crawls etc. I noticed that all the spaces had three very important dynamics. 

Firstly, the hostels are great aggregators of people from all around the world. So, if you have 2030 people from different countries, you have 20-30 ideas. Secondly, it is a great distributing point. Third thing I noticed is everyone staying in a hostel is generally a seeker – seeking for new adventures, opportunities, cultural emerges. And you have a small space filled with young seekers. These three dynamics are so powerful that it dawned on me – we could do so much more in these spaces than travel and tourism. 

And when I was actively seeking ideas while working for a venture capital fund, I kind of put two and two together. I realised that we could use the spaces to become venture builders.

Our mission now with the company is to enable the creation, through our spaces, of one million businesses in the next ten years, by 2030.

It is a very ambitious mission. How do you keep track of the number of companies created?

It’s a good question. We are not keeping very good track right now but we are in the process of building the right systems and tools to be able to track all these things. And we ourselves are a very young company, only a year and a half old, so we have a lot of things to still figure out.

A million businesses by 2030, but how many hostels are you planning to open by then?

The vision is to be in every major city in the world. By 2030, we want to be in 100 countries. And I do believe it’s realistic, because with very little resources and with one and a half years we have already done seven countries.

And where in all that is your business model? Is it the hospitality side or all of the rest that you do in the hostels?

If you do a very good job running a hotel or hostel, you generate approximately a 20% margin. So our foundational business model is this. But what we’re saying is that we want to do something that no one else does and that’s where the real economic value is going to come from. So, we want to focus on the people inside that space where they can create businesses that support the people within the space. This is where very high margins come from - education, venture business – from the talent marketspace. So, all the other businesses on top of the hospitality is where the real economic value will come from. And that’s why it is crucial for us to attract a targeted audience. It doesn’t have to be 100% and I don’t think it will ever be, but even with 40-50% it is good enough for this model to work.

Your Tallinn Tallinn, the largest city and capital of Estonia (population 440 000). hostel’s country manager is Indrek Pällo, a former Chief Representative Officer at Enterprise Estonia Enterprise Estonia (EAS) is an Estonian governmental agency promoting and supporting innovation, export, tourism, foreign investments, and talent attraction.  in Singapore. Did you first hear of Estonia when meeting him?

I would say, yes, that our connection to Estonia happened in a very serendipitous way. Indrek was the head of Enterprise Estonia Enterprise Estonia (EAS) is an Estonian governmental agency promoting and supporting innovation, export, tourism, foreign investments, and talent attraction.  in Singapore and I met him at an event and I invited him to our hostel launch in March 2018. He really liked our idea and he kept coming back to our events and meeting people. When he returned to Estonia, he kind of jokingly said: “Maybe I could help you guys launch it in Estonia?” And that’s how it started in Tallinn Tallinn, the largest city and capital of Estonia (population 440 000). ! But it all happened very interestingly. In Singapore, Indrek introduced us to an Estonian entrepreneur Rain Rannu, who was also the managing partner of the early stage investment fund Superangel. So Superangel is now one of our main investors and also our board member.

So, opening your first hostel in Europe in Tallinn Tallinn, the largest city and capital of Estonia (population 440 000). was a coincidence?

No, it wasn’t. Even though I met Indrek by coincidence, I have always been fascinated by Estonia in general and I had never been there until after I met Indrek, who invited me to the Latitude59 conference. Before that I was very intrigued by Estonia – by the e-Residency program, for example. Estonia has some similarities to Singapore – very small country with small population but yet it has had a lot of success compared to its neighbours.

So the reason we decided to start from Estonia and Tallinn Tallinn, the largest city and capital of Estonia (population 440 000). specifically was that it is probably one of the most exciting startup cities in Europe. Even compared to Berlin or Amsterdam. I think there’s so much more going on than in western European cities. So, for me, the decision was easy to make.

Are you an e-resident of Estonia?

I am and actually the e-Residency program is a very good partner of Tribe Theory. We promote them in all of our spaces, and e-Residency has its marketing materials in all our spaces, and we have done many events promoting them, for example in Bali and in Singapore. Now we’re going to Lisbon to Web Summit and doing an event with the e-Residency team there.

At the time of publishing this article, Tribe Theory was in late-stage discussions with a world-renowned venture capitalist from Silicon Valley who is considering adding some fire power to this concept. This will be announced in early 2020.

Four generations of knitwear – Nordic cool, sustainable and modern


Approaching its centenary, the 4-generation family business Woolish Woolish is an Estonian clothing brand. is a great example of a living tradition. Their original patterns have found their way into utterly cool new products while retaining the sustainability factor of high-quality knitwear.

In 1928, Eigo Siimu’s great grandmother Hilda opened her knitting studio in Viljandi Town in southern Estonia (pop.17,000). . 90 years and four generations later the family business has survived shake-ups of history, changing fashion and, with the new flagship store in Tallinn Tallinn, the largest city and capital of Estonia (population 440 000). ’s old town, it is doing better than ever.

In her studio, company founder Hilda was knitting the braids, laces and patterns by hand that can still be found in the latest product lines, which are now made by knitting machines and incorporated into contemporary design. Mother Külli and father Raimond Siimu took over the knitwear business in Viljandi Town in southern Estonia (pop.17,000). decades ago. The traditional multi-colour elk-patterns of the early 1990-2000s have now been replaced by modern designs brought to the company by son Eigo and daughter-in-law Anna.

Eigo Siimu left the Baltics’ biggest distribution company 4 years ago to give the family business a contemporary makeover both in style and marketing. Together with wife Anna, they have created a new approach to product design and a proactive sales strategy to reach contemporary consumers and new markets. With success.

The former track and field athletes are the power couple of development in Woolish Woolish is an Estonian clothing brand. . Anna is in charge of design for women’s apparel, sales and social media, Eigo looks after the finances, marketing and the online store while being hands-on in designing the men’s clothing line. The biggest challenge according to Siimu: finances. In its current growth phase, the family team has to combine creativity in design with strict business discipline.

Siimu is pleased though with the progress made in the last few years: “In the Estonian context we have achieved a great result. Our products are on sale in the best retail stores in the country, such as Stockmann and Tallinna Kaubamaja, which in itself is a proof of quality and a right approach.”

Woolish Woolish is an Estonian clothing brand. has had a very good 2019 with the opening of a flagship shop in Tallinn Tallinn, the largest city and capital of Estonia (population 440 000). ’s old town – a store that attracts 50/50 locals and tourists. Current export markets are in Finland, Germany and the UK. Among the most popular products is a long soft ladies’ cardigan, although – come winter, the trademark Woolish Woolish is an Estonian clothing brand. hats in all colours appear on Tallinn Tallinn, the largest city and capital of Estonia (population 440 000). ’s streets. Home accessories, like throws and pillows by Woolish Woolish is an Estonian clothing brand. , can be found in some of Estonia’s luxury hotels, adding this extra cosy wow-factor.

Eigo on challenges of a traditional family business: “Change and innovation is necessary. Every business has to find a model and a way to make its products distinct and add value. For sure, the experience working outside of the family business has proven to be very useful.”

Eigo Siimu describes the company mission as a journey of sustainable slow fashion. The natural traceable materials and high quality of the garments contribute to a sustainable low-consumption lifestyle – buy better, buy less.

Mother Külli Siimu is really pleased that the next generation decided to join the family business and gear up both the design and marketing of the knitwear, which is still produced in the small factory in central Estonia. She shows off the factory: “This is where we knit blankets, hats, scarfs and sometimes jumpers. A simple blanket takes 4 hours. Now we produce modern design, whereas before we used to make more traditional folk patterns. The modern design still combines many traditional elements like the braids and laces. These are old patterns that were already in the first generation – handmade at the time and mainly used for scarfs and jumpers. We were very happy as our son decided to join the company. We were worried, how long could we keep going just knitting the elks one way and the other! It was a moment when we really needed a new approach. The young generation is able to create modern design and to sell the products. This was really necessary.”

Course in traditional textile craft. 

Viljandi Town in southern Estonia (pop.17,000). is actually a true heartland for Estonian handicraft, especially textile. At the Viljandi Town in southern Estonia (pop.17,000). Culture Academy one can even take a bachelor’s course in traditional textile craft.

Professor Kristi Jõeste has published several studies on the traditional patterns of Estonian knitwear and teaches students to keep the tradition alive. She says, it’s important to preserve this tradition, especially in the era of globalisation: “We consider here in Viljandi Town in southern Estonia (pop.17,000). , that people should preserve not just their native language but also the visual mother tongue.” Jõeste admits however, that the cultural heritage can’t survive in the shape of a museum. It has to develop and adjust to modern materials and context.

Exactly this has happened with Woolish Woolish is an Estonian clothing brand. – the traditional knitting patterns have made it into new products. The typical braided pattern of a thick woollen jumper can now be found in an elegant throw or a pillow, the traditionally shaped woollen hats come with a soft cotton lining, a fine wool knitting technique is applied to create sporty T-shirts, elegant jackets or dresses.

The latest addition to the designs of both men’s and ladies’ clothing lines is a woollen jumper paying homage to the hometown and production location of Woolish Woolish is an Estonian clothing brand. Viljandi Town in southern Estonia (pop.17,000). . The sweaters, designed by Liisa Peips carry the brand of this quirky small town – VLND. Although developed as part of the winter collection, Eigo Siimu says: “It’s a geographical fact that here in Estonia a woollen jumper is wearable both in winter and summer.”

Man is what he eats

Volume 1 – kama and kiluvõileib

Man is what he eats. But what did Estonians traditionally eat? Eesti.life invited our devoted readers to try out some traditional Estonian dishes. On top of cooking together we also hoped to have a lot of fun. And we succeeded! We prepared two typical Estonian dishes – kiluvõileib and kama. While cooking and eating we also shared stories about food, our funny experiences, and memories about living in Estonia.

What was the first word in Estonian what you learned? Surprisingly, for many of us it was kartul. Mehdi was living close to the Central Market that time and was buying potato pies from an old Russian lady who didn’t speak any English. So he had to learn the word kartulipirukas (potato pie). Luis from Colombia just loves to eat potatoes. And for Ketevan, it wasn’t a difficult word at all, because Kartuli means ’Georgian language’ in Georgian. 

All of us found quite funny that potato salad exists everywhere, although Estonians think it is something typically Estonian. Many traditional Estonian dishes are actually regional, and Estonians have learned a lot from their Eastern neighbours – like, for example, picking and eating forest mushrooms. The Estonian cuisine has a strong German influence as well.

Kiluvõieib is something you can find in almost every cafe in Estonia. Vürtsikilu is a small fish which is salted and spiced and then left to mature a few days. It tastes great with Estonian dark rye bread and boiled egg. Kama was a traditional summer food, nowadays people eat it for breakfast. Kamajahu (powder) is mixed with kefir, yoghurt or soured milk. You can add berries, jam or honey to it. Head isu!

Volume 2 – karask and pannileib

In November we baked karask (barley soda bread) and Saaremaa The largest island in Estonia(pop. 31,000). potato bread called pannileib. We discussed about different national dishes and invited everyone to bring something from their own country. Mehdi was so kind and prepared a typical Iranian eggplant stew for us. It was so delicious!

That time also Eesti.life chief editor Mart and political journalist Aimar joined us. Mart taught us to bake pannileib which was really delicious.
Here below are descriptions:

Pannileib is a typical traditional dish in Western Saaremaa The largest island in Estonia(pop. 31,000). . It is usually baked on Saturdays (put into the oven before going to sauna) and eaten after sauna. There is more than one recipe because every family baked it their own way and it usually contained leftovers from the week. The main ingredients were grated raw potato (or leftover potato mash), strips of salted or smoked meet and onions. The ingredients were mixed together and baked in a baking dish.

Karask is a traditional Estonian soda bread which has been made for centuries, usually from barley flour. People eat it every day because it was cheap and easy to make – some sour milk or buttermilk, barley flour, and soda for rising. If you were wealthier you could also add butter, eggs, lard or strips of smoked meat. Nowadays, you can use kefir, yoghurt or buttermilk instead of soured milk. Nuts, seeds and dried berries can also be added to karask.

Both dishes are the best while still warm. And don't forget to spread fresh butter (or herb butter) on it.

Volume 3 – verivorst, hapukapsas and piparkook

in December, of course, we prepared some Estonian traditional Christmas dishes. Estonian cuisine has been strongly influenced by German cooking traditions. Typical Christmas dishes are verivorst (blood sausage) and hapukapsas (soured cabbage or sauerkraut). Blood sausages are usually eaten with pohlamoos (lingonberry jam) and kõrvitsasalat (marinated pumpkin cubes). Estonians like to drink hõõgvein or glögi (mulled wine or glögg).

It can cause confusion when you go to the supermarket and spot a wide assortment of blood sausages there. Which ones are the best? It depends on your taste. Some sausages contain more meat, they are also different by shape. Why not buy them all and organise a verivorst tasting event?

Verivorst should be baked in oven at 180 degrees around 20 minutes. Before baking pierce them with a fork so they won't explode. You can also use a frying pan but the result may not be so good. Hapukapsas can be cooked from scratch – raw sauerkraut is widely sold in every shop, but there are also pre-cooked options available in glass or plastic jars.

While enjoying our Christmas food we discussed about other nations’ Christmas (or New Year) food traditions. In many countries meat is not eaten during Christmas – fish is eaten instead. In some countries there must be a certain amount of dishes on the table - for example 12 dishes as Jesus had 12 disciples. In most countries Christmas and New Year are celebrated with multiple gourmet dishes and drinks.

Piparkook is something which is always on the Christmas table, and not only in Estonia. We baked our own piparkooks together and had a lot of fun! On top of this, thanks to Ketevan and Yana, we also had sweets from Sweden and Georgia – lussekatter (St Lucia saffron buns, typical Swedish sweets for St Lucy’s day, 13 December) and Churchkhela – Georgian sweets made from thickened grape must, nuts and flour. 

The food was delicious and went well with glögg, christmas tea and Georgian red wine. We had a great time together. Thank you very much, Mehdi, Ketevan, Melisa, Dima, Murat, Yana, Daria, Luis and Mare! Wishing to all our readers a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year! Enjoy the Estonian winter!

Participants are from all over the World - Iran, USA, Turkey, Ukraine, Georgia, Russia and Estonia

Gingerbread baking is great fun!

Kiluvõileib is easy to make and very tasty

For traditional pannileib grated potatoes and smoked meat is used

Kõige eestipärasemad toidud

Eesti toidu Facebooki grupp küsis inimestelt, mis on kõige eestipärasemad toidud. Esikolmik on selline: must leib, kama ja mulgipuder
Rukkileib ehk must leib on Eestis tuntud juba mitu tuhat aastat. Eesti keele väljend „leib on laual“ tähendab seda, et perel on sissetulek ja et leib on toit number üks. Kõik muud toidud on leivakõrvane – eestlased söövad neid toite koos leivaga. Paljud perenaised teevad ise kodus rukkileiba ka tänapäeval. 
Kama oli eesti talupoja traditsiooniline suvetoit. Seda sõid eestlased suvel hapupiimaga. 1930. aastatel sai kamast rahvustoit. Kama on populaarne ka tänapäeval. 1990. aastatel olid kohvikutes ja restoranides menukad magustoidud kamast. Kamajahu saab osta igast toidupoest.
Mulgipuder ehk kartulipuder tangudega tuli 19. sajandi esimesel poolel Mulgimaalt. Puder on nüüd tuntud kogu Eestis. Mulgiputru on lihtne teha. Seda valmistavad ka kodumaised ettevõtted, näiteks Salvest is an Estonian food production company. ja Põltsamaa.
Eestipäraste toitude esikümnes on ka traditsioonilised jõulutoidud, nagu verivorst, hapukapsas ja sült. Missugune Eesti toit sulle maitseb?

Kõige eestipärasemate toitude TOP10:
1.    Must leib
2.    Kama
3.    Mulgipuder
4.    Kiluvõileib
5.    Verivorst    
6.    Hapukapsas
7.    Sült
8.    Mulgikapsad
9.    Kilu
10.  Kartul