This month

Aprilli kuu

Let's tell our stories! Different stories enrich us

In spring, as nature again blooms in full colour, let us also in the second month of spring try to rediscover and retell the colourful stories which form the narrative of our common story – the story of Estonia. Each person’s story reflects the abundance of cultures that have enriched Estonia for centuries, while all the stories together give rise to our common cultural diversity.

In April, the next month in our Cultural Diversity Year, it is worth making time in everyday life for the questions and answers that will help each of us to make sense of and share both our individual stories and our common history. There are many perspectives: your personal story, the story of your family or community, the decades of stories from your home place, the passage of centuries in your country and millennia in the world. From any point of view, one can inherit and thereby discover enriching knowledge: what is the story of me or us? Who am I and who are we? Where are my roots? Our roots? How rich is the story of my family and ancestors? What stories do I remember – or do we remember – when thinking of the past? What have I learned from our ancestors and what have we learned? How are we similar? What sets us apart? What is my story and our story? What story do we want to bequeath to our descendants? What do we keep as a legacy? What stories do I tell of myself and our descendants?

Ask questions and share answers—this way you will tell about yourself and create our common story.

Recommendations of the Cultural Diversity Year working group on how to celebrate cultural diversity by telling both your story and ours

Help us put together our common story! Share your knowledge of your community with us. Above all, we welcome an introduction which, with the help of words and images, helps us to understand the community of yesterday, today and tomorrow. The most important customs and significant dates in the community, as well as traditions and myths, are of equal interest. Information is being gathered in our survey questionnaire, which can be downloaded and then filled in and sent to us.

>We will publish the information gathered on the theme year website and on social media and use it in our interactions with the media. Send your applications by the end of April!

>Research also furnishes knowledge of communities. We will hear what schoolchildren discovered about their communities during the schools' science festival, where this year several approaches to cultural diversity are among the entries. Our theme-year working group will award the best of the best. Naturally, university students and scientists also study the diversity of cultures – we are interested in these discoveries and ask that you let us know about them.

>Collect grandparents' stories! Our ancestors have years of stories to tell that involve the life-changing knowledge and experience of not only the family, but also the whole community, and even the country. Such conversations allow us to look at the past together, thereby seeing the future. An easy way to collect stories is to build your own family tree. MyHeritage or Geni.com can help with this. More stories can be collected by the Book of Memories, which has more than 100 questions to ask grandparents about their lives. A Grandparent's Voice also provides an excellent opportunity to collect such stories.

>Discover your family's traditions! Take a look at your family's customs to discover the intertwining of different generations and cultures in them. On what occasions do you usually come together? If you still remember past reunions, which traditions have become a thing of the past and which do you still observe today when relatives come together from different places? How do you recall the family's past at such gatherings? Do you leaf through old photo albums or sing songs together? What do you do during a get-together – do you play together or go on a hike? What customs of previous generations do you introduce to children? Are there any items that tell the family story, like folk costumes or a cup that has been handed down? What dishes have special meaning – potato salad on the New Year's or birthday table? If there are members of several nationalities in the family, how do you combine the traditions of different cultures?

>Give credit to the legacy! There is much in our homes flats and houses, courtyards and villages, municipalities and towns – that carries our stories and drives our culture forward. By paying attention to these artefacts, buildings and places, we preserve historical memory and our own cohesion. A good opportunity to celebrate heritage together is offered by Heritage Month, which is led by the Estonian Heritage Society. It is also time for collective action clean-up events, which will again be organised by the "Let's do it!" initiative. Why not go to a museum or archive to see the heritage that has already been collected and get advice on how to preserve it. The first is facilitated by the Museum Card, while the second is supported primarily by the National Archives.

Keep us updated on how you are exploring the diversity of cultures! Write to us at [email protected]. We welcome your feedback. Tell us what you did after reading our tips and to what new discoveries this advice led you.

> Discover what days are celebrated in January in different communities. We have gathered the commemorative and feast days we know of into a simple calendar: get to know them and, if possible, celebrate!

If you know of an upcoming date that has not yet been marked in our calendar, please share the name of the occasion with us along with the description and your contact details by writing to [email protected].

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