Seasonality in Estonian Traditional Landscape: The Example of Large Village Swings

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Like every nation, Estonians have their own indigenous customs and habits. Village swings and the place of these swings in the landscape are focused upon as an example of such Estonian customs, and changes in landscape as related to seasonality and liminality are discussed. The word ‘swing’ is used to denote a large construction (traditionally made of wood) that is able to carry and swing at least two people. Village swings (for public use) are usually located in the middle of a village and the site is commonly used by young people as a place to meet and have a good time. Swinging takes place mostly in the spring and summer, forming one of the many seasonal activities that make up the Estonian traditional calendar. The seasonal break in swinging activity contributes to the eagerness with which swinging is resumed when spring returns, so seasonality creates frames, with the most valued time being the spring. With swinging, the spring has been celebrated as a very valuable and long-awaited season. Although the religious background for swinging has been forgotten, the place is still special and is visited mostly on certain festive occasions. As there is no comparable alternative to swing sites as a socializing place in the village, they have persisted through the centuries. The importance of preserving such unique seasonal places in Estonia's social landscape is demonstrated.

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... Previous studies undertaken at the University of Tartu addressed the "Places with Large Swings in Estonian landscapes". (Pungas, 2004;Pungas et al., 2004). Places were analysed using 'a swing' as an example (Figure 4.1). ...
... Previous studies undertaken at the University of Tartu addressed the "Places with Large Swings in Estonian landscapes". (Pungas, 2004;Pungas et al., 2004). Places were analysed using 'a swing' as an example (Figure 4.1). ...
... In a general sense, the number of people using outdoor areas in autumn seemed to be lower than during spring, although the days are similar. A possible explanation regards the tiredness of the dull winter days and the wish to enjoy the good spring weather 'promise', while during autumn it is not so present as the previous months were largely enjoyed in the summer weather (Pungas et al., 2005). ...
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... Previous studies undertaken at the University of Tartu addressed the "Places with Large Swings in Estonian landscapes". (Pungas, 2004;Pungas et al., 2004). Places were analysed using 'a swing' as an example (Figure 4.1). ...
... Previous studies undertaken at the University of Tartu addressed the "Places with Large Swings in Estonian landscapes". (Pungas, 2004;Pungas et al., 2004). Places were analysed using 'a swing' as an example (Figure 4.1). ...
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... Edensor, 2011;Marcu, 2017;O'Reilly, 2004;Terkenli, 2005;Vannini & Taggart, 2015) and rhythms' embeddedness in landscapes (e.g. Jones, 2006;Pungas, Oja, & Palang, 2005). Rhythms in urban spaces has particularly been subject to many studies (e.g. ...
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In European countries, the environmental and landscape management of rural areas has faced several new challenges along with the changing role of agriculture. the quality of food, landscape values, and the vitality of rural areas have increasingly been emphasised in the latest agricultural and rural policies. At the same time, the consumers are increasingly taking part in food production and in rural — especially landscape — development; for example, demanding the preservation of landscapes and maintenance of biodiversity (Marsden 1995; Pierce 1996; Macnaghten & Urry 1998). Society is thus reasserting its hold on rural nature, land and culture.
Changes in cultural landscapes are examined theoretically and through applications of the theory developed. The concept of cultural landscape is interpreted as laying emphasis on visible and experiential landscape elements resulting from human activity. A multidimensional model for the concept is developed in which landscape phenomena are formed by a combination of material factors, non-material, experiential factors and underlying human and natural factors. The concept of landscape as defined in the model is also a multi-level one, in which the material factors build up from the village level to the province, country and continent level and the non-material factors from impressions to values, world views and cultures. This definition of landscape is used as a basis for a model for studying changes in cultural landscapes, which is then tested in a set of small-scale case studies on the village landscapes of Nurmijarvi, Lammi, Suomenkyla and Saksala in Finland and the mountain villages of San Salvador and Huaro in the Cuzco region of Peru, representing a culture initially less familiar to the research worker. -from Author
This essay aims to provide a phenomenological reading of two distinct communities. One is an organic settlement, the town of Cavtat, situated on the Adriatic coast. The other—central Mississauga—is situated near Toronto, Canada, and is typical of many North American suburban developments. Following a discussion of the significance of the notion of implacement for phenomenology, each community is surveyed in turn. Despite obvious spatial and temporal differences between the two settlements, the paper concludes by identifying converging images of significance—images that may help to illumine, in a preliminary way, some essential moments in the evolution of sense of place.@ 1998 Academic Press
To the student of landscape, as well as to the landscape planner, designer and manager, it is important to distinguish between differing modalities in the conceptualization of landscape and seasonality. The logic of the absolute geometric space of the map and central point perspective prospect, and the chronometric time of the calendar, is qualitatively different from the liminality of place and seasonal holidays. Here it is the content that defines the seasons, not the regularities of a quantitative system of measurement. This distinction is critical when it comes to working with seasonal landscapes, because they can be defined in terms of either modality.
Background concepts of the landscape research performed at the Department of Geography of the University of Ghent are described, discussed and illustrated with some examples. The integrated approach is based upon holism, perception and evolution. Holism allows the link between landscape ecology and perception. It explains the interaction between structure and functioning and the importance of the scale. Perception is linked to structure, pattern recognition and learning and, thus, also to behaviour and the practical results of planning processes. Landscape evolution is based on the dynamic interaction between structure and functioning and also on history, which makes each landscape unique. The rate and magnitude of the changes in the landscape are the most important factors relating to the evolution of our landscapes. Pressures upon the landscape and values of our landscapes can be defined according to their traditional characteristics.
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The present article explores Estonian swing culture - the types of swings, temporal-spatial relationships and customs related to swinging, swing songs, dances and games, innovations brought to swing culture in the 20th and 21st centuries. The observations are based on the archive materials of the Estonian Folklore Archives, and partly on those of Estonian National Museum. Originally swinging had a magical meaning. The belief that swinging in springtime facilitates the growing of crop and good health of cattle and people was widely spread among Finno-Ugric, Slavic and other peoples, and naturally also among Estonians. Although the Estonian territory is small, there were considerable differences between South and North Estonian traditions. In the 19th century, swinging in Southern Estonia was performed in a specific time frame (only during the Easter), swings were lightly constructed (rope swings or lighter wood swings), both young and older people were expected to participate in swinging and it served more of a ritual function. In Northern Estonia, where swinging was not practiced until the Whitsuntide, i.e. during the Summer season, but for a longer period (until Midsummer Day), heavy village swings were common. During festivities and weekends virtually all of the adult community gathered around these, although swinging performed by the young and single. The large swing of Northern Estonia is Swedish in origin. The swing tradition of Northern Estonia bears remarkable resemblance with the village swing tradition of Western Finland. Village swings helped young people to communicate with each other and offered opportunity of social interaction to all village inhabitants regardless of their age. Swings were built on the public land of the village by single young men, and people who came swinging brought presents to swing makers. Young girls were expected to sing special songs, because singing was an important part of Estonian swing culture. Swing songs make up a popular and distinct song group in Northern Estonia (see sound and note examples) that differ from the rest of the runo songs in terms of their specific singing techniques (strong chest voice, many melismata, twirls, extra syllables), slow rhythm controlled by the movements of the swing and slow tempo. In addition, texts of these songs are outstanding in their rich poetics. The oldest layer of swing melodies are made up of North-Estonian single-line melodies that are characterised by long end sound and range up to fourth; these are likely to belong to the oldest Finno-Ugric melody layer. Swing melodies as a peculiar and representative group of melodies have influenced both other song types of North Estonia and these of adjacent nations (Izhorians and Votians). There were specific swing songs in Southern and Northern Estonia. During the last three centuries various swing types have appeared in Estonia: rõhtkiiged (seesaws), püstkiiged (swings of rope and wood), pöörkiiged (rotating swings or primitive carousels), ripp- ja võrkkiiged (hammocks), jalaskiiged (rockers - rocking horses, rocking chairs, cradles), vedrukiiged (spring seesaws, springboards). Each kind of swing contains several subtypes. The constructions and building materials have changed over time; also the safety of swings has become an important aspect. For each swing type, the article outlines its users as well as its connections with calendar customs, games typically played around it, etc. Swinging is also popular in present days. All kinds of rope swings or lighter wooden swings and comfortable suspension swings are common in playground environment. Although in the 20th century swings were regularly bought from shops, they are still often made by people themselves. From catalogues one can order adapted and modernised versions of old swing types. Large North Estonian swings can be found on open-air stages, fire making places where festivities are held during the Midsummer Days, swing hills, parks and tourist farms. There are no restrictions on the time of swinging and it can be practiced any time. Children and young people prevail among swingers, but there are no restrictions in terms of age or social belonging. Swing is used as a symbol by many social and hobby groups or clubs, different movements and regional societies (folk culture, new-shamanism, ethno-futurism, village societies, etc.). Despite the dominant assimilation process in swing-related customs, they are far from being monotonous and homogenous, since under the shade of superficial homogeneity, different social strata modify and shape these customs, revive old traditions, and create and develop new activities related to swinging. The recent example of the latter is kiiking, extreme sport activity that originates from daring to make the swing go 360 degrees.
The field of developmental biology has a history that spans the last 500 years. Within the last 10 years, our understanding of developmental mechanisms has grown exponentially by employing modern techniques of genetics and molecular biology, frequently combined with experimental embryology and the use of molecular markers, rather than solely morphology, to identify critical populations of cells and their state of differentiation. Three main principles have emerged. First, mechanisms of development are highly conserved, both among developing rudiments of a variety of organ systems and among diverse organisms. This conservation occurs both at the level of tissue and cellular mechanisms, and at the molecular level. Second, the development of organ rudiments is influenced by surrounding tissues through interactions called inductive interactions. Such interactions are mediated by highly conserved growth factors and signaling systems. Third, development is a life-long process and can be reawakened in events such as wound healing and regeneration, and in certain diseases. Advances in understanding normal development provide hope that diseases in which development runs amuck, such as cancer, may soon be preventable and fully treatable. Supported by NS 18112 and DC 04185 from the NIH.
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