THE GREETING-SONG 'VIRU REGI' FOR THE 90TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE REPUBLIC OF ESTONIA (Juba juubilar juubeldab: 'Viru regi' Eesti Vabariigi 90. sunnipaevaks)
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In 2007, Estonians were asked to write a song, 'Viru regi', in the style of the old Estonian folksong 'regilaul' as a gift for the 90th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia. 6,500 verses from nearly 650 authors were received, formed into a 373-verse greeting-song by a group of folklorists. This paper analyzes the verse structure, poetic devices and language of the verses people sent to 'Viru regi', comparing them to old folksongs and folksong-imitating epos 'Kalevipoeg' (1853-1862). While the 8-syllabic trochaic rhythm of the 'regilaul' was followed quite regularly (though in a simplified form prevalent also in 'Kalevipoeg'), the main poetic devices thereof, alliteration and parallelism, are less familiar to modern Estonians. The present-day is indeed revealed in the language of the verses: the frequent archaic word forms of 'regilaul' are used quite seldom and inaccurately, the dialectal features act rather as archaisms, the content frequently reflects the modern world, conveyed by contemporary concepts and foreign words. Still the old 'regilaul' and its poetic codes associate with the ethnic originality and cultural heritage of Estonians, being one of the ethnic markers which are also used in the national self-representation of Estonia.
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