The second story I am sharing is : "Kihnu, the Isle off the Time"
Kihnu, an Estonian island in the Gulf of Riga, situated an hour’s ferry ride away from the coast, has thanks to its women retained a culture that has cemented its position as part of UNESCO’s list of intangible cultural heritage since 2003.
Whereas Kihnu’s men – for the most part sailors and fishermen – brought innovation and novelty to the island, the women, that we could qualify as ‘cultural guardians’, where more conservative and tended to the affairs of the island. And so, despite the influence of the dominant powers (Danish, Swedish, German, Russian), the islanders have managed to preserve their traditions to this day. Theirs is a culture that expresses itself every day through clothes, dialect and celebrations, through music, songs and religion, in a form of syncretism that brings together local traditions and beliefs.
In the other regions of Estonia, traditional clothes are donned only during special occasions and events. On the island of Kihnu, skirts are worn on a daily bases in the same way a pair of jeans would be on the continent: in the field, at church, in shops, at the pub and at school.
But unlike jeans, each skirt is different; it changes over the years and depending on the occasion. The skirts worn by young girls for example tend to be of a brighter red. And as the years go by, various life events would impact the garment’s look. During periods of mourning, skirts would go from red to black, before transiting to blue and then back to red. The skirts encapsulate a lifetime of memories by harbouring the traces of all these events that have punctuated the wearers’ lives.
In 2018, the story was published in the book "Au Large du Temps" by Imogene edition. Find it on my website.