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Photographer's Note

Looking at these buildings at Cuttalossa Farm remind me of the simple types of wooden structures in which my ancestors back in Estonia lived. My parents came to the United States at the end of WWII and raised us in the language and culture of Estonia.

Christmas was always a particular favorite of mine and my sisters and brothers, and being of Estonian heritage gave us a slight edge over our American friends. You see, we didn't have to wait until Christmas Day to open our presents -- we opened them on Christmas Eve!

Jυuluvana ("Christmas elder", aka Santa Claus) always managed to deliver his goods to our doorstep while we were at church. When we asked our mother why he didn't come down the chimney she flat out told us that he'd NEVER fit down our chimney and just left our gifts at the door instead. What a smart mother!!

When we arrived home from church at around 6:00 PM we would run from door to door to see where he left the gifts. Once we found them, my father would carry the sack to the tree and place the gifts there. But we weren't allowed to open them until after dinner! And, if we wanted to open them at all, we had to EAT!

Dinner usually started off with a appetizers such as rosolje, marineerited kala, and sόlt. Rosolje is a salad whose main ingredients are beets, potatos, apples, herring and eggs. It has a few other items in it that I can't recall at the moment. To you folks from Germany/Austria this is like your herringsalat, except we put less herring in it than you do. Marineeritud kala is a white fish that is marinated in some tomato concoction and sόlt is jellied meat. Dinner always consisted of roast goose, kapsas (basically, sauerkraut but with a sweeter taste), potatoes, and some other vegetables. But probably the most traditional Estonian dish was jυuluvorst (Christmas sausage), which we also call verivorst (blood sausage). I am told it is similar to blood pudding.

Once all the grownups FINALLY got done eating we all assembled in the living room to the best part of the evening: opening our presents!!!

So this is just how one Estonian-American family would spend their Christmas.

Merry Christmas to you all!!!

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Additional Photos by Linda Richters (richtersl) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 992 W: 583 N: 849] (3546)
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