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The Source:

Marju Koivupuu:
"The transformation of the death cult over time: the example of burial customs in historic Vorumaa County"

The Case:

No specific case here, rather some general superstitions, but quite interesting just the same. And - yes - I do admit it, it did not feel right to treat Estonia as a non-vampire country. So welcome aboard !

We learn - among lots of other things - from Marju Koivupuu's fascinating article how the first person who meets a funeral procession is given some kind of present. Some vodka if it is a man, some cake or candy if it is a woman or a child. In some places it was thought that "meeting the dead brings death". So if you are the first one to meet a funeral procession that may mean that you or one of your relatives or friends will be next to die. The people who are escorting the corpse would have taken part in earlier rituals and would thus be protected from the mortal influence of the corpse. Even today - or so we are told - people who see a funeral procession coming their way quickly turn around and do not want to accept the gift. Obviously they have not met me, for I can not remember having said "No" to a glass of vodka in my life. Ever. Then again, I don't think that I have ever had the pleasure of tasting Estonian vodka.

It seems clear that the corpse is thought to be a "Nachzehrer" who can bring death to others and draw them into their graves.

In the past, it seems, that a rooster or some other small animal was killed at the graveside. The blood was meant as an offering to the deceased with the specific purpose of preventing him from returning home.

The Date:

There is no date as this is about general superstitions and traditions rather than some specific case.

The Place:

A few places are mentioned, and I can only recommend that you check out this brilliant website which has lots of interesting articles.

Personal Comments:

The site www.folklore.ee is an excellent source for Estonian folklore and popular beliefs. To someone like myself, even though I do know maybe 12 words of Finnish, the Estonian language is about as difficult and incomprehensible as Chinese, so it is great to see how some of the material has been translated into English.

Possible Follow-Up:

If you have even the slightest interest in Estonia and its folklore, traditions and superstitions, do yourself a favour and check out this brilliant site. You won't be disappointed.

2009 by Rob Brautigam - NL - Last changed 22 November 2009

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