December 20, 2016

1639, 2911 ESTONIA (Pärnu) - Kihnu cultural space (UNESCO ICH)


Posted on 08.06.2015, 20.12.2016
Lying off Estonia's Baltic coast, the small islands of Kihnu and Manija are home to a community of 600 people whose cultural expressions and agricultural traditions have been kept alive over the centuries largely through the island's female population. Their geographic isolation, their strong sense of community spirit and their steadfast attachment to the customs of their ancestors have enabled the Kihnu people to preserve their crafts and customs. Today, Kihnu culture is threatened by economic hardship, uncontrolled housing development and the intrusion of tourists insensitive to the islands' traditions and natural environment.


Singing is an integral part of collective handicraft activities and of religious celebrations. Particularly noteworthy among the musical repertory of the islanders is an oral tradition of pre-Christian origin, known as runic or Kalevala-metre songs. But the most visible emblem of Kihnu culture remains the woolen handicrafts worn by the women. Working using traditional looms and local wool, the women weave and knit mittens, stockings, skirts and blouses, which often feature bright colours, vivid stripes and intricate embroidery. Many of the symbolic forms and colours adorning these garments are rooted in ancient legends.

This cultural space is also distinguished by the interrelation of its rich cultural and natural heritage. On both islands, the characteristic landscape of grassland, pine groves and coastal sands has remained relatively intact up to the present day. The people of Kihnu speak a dialect of Estonian which is sometimes considered as a distinct language and contains many elements from Swedish.

About the stamp
On the postcard 1639

The stamp belongs to the large series Estonian Folk Costumes, issued begining with 1994 (two in each year), and designed by Mari Kaarma.
1994.08.23 Mustjala (1.00 KR)
1994.08.23 Jämaja (1.00 KR) - It's on the postcard 1011
1998.08.21 Kihnu 1 (3.60 KR)
1998.08.21 Kihnu 2 (3.60 KR) - It's on the postcard 2911
2015.04.14 Lihula (0.55 EUR) - It's on the postcard 2092
2015.04.14 Kirbla (1.20 EUR) - It's on the postcard 1639

On the postcard 2911
This is one of the two maxicards issued in 1998, together with two stamps belonging to the series Estonian Folk Costumes, about which I wrote above. Actually the image of the two maxicards is the same, only the stamp being different.

The first stamp on the back is part of the large series Post Horn Definitive, about which I wrote here.

The second stamp is one of the two designed by Indrek Ilves and Riho Luuse, and issued on November 18, 2016 to celebrate the Christmas.
Christmas 0.65 EUR - It's on the postcard 2911
Christmas 1.40 EUR

The last stamp is part a joint Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian issue (November 8, 2016), which mark the 25th Anniversary of Baltic Assembly. The Baltic Assembly (BA) is a regional organization that promotes intergovernmental cooperation between the Baltic republics of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.The stamps were designed by Indrek Ilves.
Baltic Assembly 25 (0.65 EUR) - It's on the postcard 2911
Baltic Assembly 25 (1.40 EUR)

Kihnu cultural space - UNESCO official website
Kihnu - Wikipedia 

Sender 1639: Maili Tannbaum (direct swap)
Sent from Rakvere (Lääne-Viru / Estonia), on 03.06.2015
Photo: Margit Kurvits
Sender 2911: Irina Nogina (direct swap)
Sent from Kohtla-Järve (Ida-Viru / Estonia), on 12.12.2016

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