Virumaa talurahva aineline kultuur 19. sajandil ja 20. sajandi alguses
MATERIAL PEASANT CULTURE IN VIRUMAA IN THE 19TH AND BEGINNING OF THE 20TH CENTURIES
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In the 19th century, the most widely spread village type was cluster village; yet row, chain, circle, and street villages also occurred. For centuries, peasants lived in the barn-dwelling, which was comprised of the threshing room, threshing floor, and one or several chambers. In the north-Estonian type of barn-dwelling the threshing room was higher and narrower than the threshing floor. The limestone stove was near the chambers. In the threshing room the longitudinal beams were crossed by poles, which were used for drying the threshed grain in the autumn. The threshing room had simple furnishings: beds, a table, a few benches and stools. Babies slept in cradles. As outbuildings the farmyard featured a summer kitchen, a sauna, a storehouse, and a cellar, sometimes also a smithy. Water came from a well. The main source of subsistence for Virumaa people was agriculture. They grew rye, barley, wheat, oats, as well as peas, beans, lentils, turnips, cabbages, and swedes. In the first quarter of the 19th century, potatoes were grown in the vegetable plot but in the next quarter they were already planted in fields. In the last decades of the century, potato growing became more extensive. Manure was used as fertiliser in the fields. Forked plough and harrow were the tools for tilling the land, and grain was sown by hand from the seed-basket. Most of the grain was cut with the sickle but summer crops were also cut with a scythe. Cows, horses, pigs, and chicken were grown as domestic animals. In the wintertime the main means of transport was a sledge, in the summertime a wagon. People in the area of Lake Peipus and in coastal areas were engaged in fishing. Game hunting was of negligible importance; the main region where it was practised was the forests in Alutaguse. For centuries peasants sold their produce in towns, exchanged it or bought necessary products there. Fairs were important in peasant trading, and peddlers used to travel from village to village. Until the last quarter of the 19th century the number of village stores was rather small. The most important foodstuff for peasants was rye bread. Everyday diet included also porridges, gruels, and soups. Meat was rare but salted Baltic herring was frequent on the table. Small beer was a regular drink, on festive occasions people also drank beer. Men used to do woodwork, but they also tanned hides, made peasant shoes, ropes, and tar, and, to a lesser extent, also did blacksmithing. Women’s main handicraft was making textiles. Wool and flax were spun into yarn and thread, which were used in weaving fabrics. Clothing for both men and women was made at home, as were also gloves, stockings, and socks. In the second half of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries many changes occurred in folk culture: chimneys and wooden floors appeared in dwelling-houses, iron ploughs and harrows were taken into use, as well as hay and grain harvesters and threshing machines. Household and clothing items started to be bought. Virumaa is part of northern Estonian folk culture area, which is characterised by the northern Estonian type of barn-dwelling, forked plough, women’s skirts with vertical stripes, midriff blouses, and pot-shaped caps. Virumaa has been under the influence from the east, especially its eastern part (Votic, Izhorian, Russian impact). Yet, the material culture in the coastal areas of northern Virumaa has been influenced by close contacts with the Finns.
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