Illustration by Laani Heinar (2020)
Tuesday, 08 December 2020 19:00
Estonian Life No. 49 2020 - Vincent Teetsov)
Believe it or not, we're launching right into the Christmas season! Whether you put your tree up weeks ago or have been steadfastly holding out as long as possible, it's safe to say that we can now indulge in some merriment.
In that spirit, you might be putting some festive tunes on. One that we'd recommend you put on is “Läbi lume sahiseva” (which could be translated as “Rustling Through the Snow”).
If you're not yet familiar with the song, it tells the story of some folks in a sleigh going through a rustic wintry setting back in the day. Once they head out onto the snowy trail, a beautiful Christmas scene unfolds. Decorated pine trees, ringing bells, a big shining moon. Once they come home from church that night, there's a Christmas tree with presents underneath, and some delicious sausages crackling in the pan.
It's a favourite song of Estonian kids, and if you're interested, you and your family might want to gather at home and sing along, too. You can listen to the song and get acquainted with the melody on YouTube ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoGecAdzp34
These are the lyrics, where the last line of every stanza repeats once:
Läbi lume sahiseva sõidab saanike,
;; Aisakell lööb tilla – talla üliarmsasti ;;
Kena jõuluehte saanud iga metsapuu,
;; seda ilu vaatab kõrgelt mõnus jõulukuu ;;
Sõida ruttu saanikene, koju kirikust,
;; läbi luha, üle kingu, mööda männikust ;;
Kodus pannil jõuluvorstid särisevad ju,
;; kodus ootvad kingitused, ootab jõulupuu ;;
“Läbi lume sahiseva” was composed by Juhan Aavik in 1924, with lyrics written by Julius Janson. Aavik was known for composing with an appreciation of the way Estonian folk songs were written and passed down through the ages. As part of his catalogue of music, he wrote other children's songs like “Teele, teele, kurekesed...” (“On the Road, On the Road, Storks”) and “Kui mina hakkan laulemaie” (“When I start singing”).
He was musical director and conductor of Rahvusooper Estonia in the 20s and early 30s and conducted at three song festivals before the Second World War, after which he fled Estonia to live in Sweden. It should be noted, for all of our readers, that he continued his musical life as part of our broader välis Eesti community.
Looking back at Aavik and Janson's Christmas song from 96 years ago, we thought those objects seen on the sleigh ride would make for a great activity for kids and their familes!
Here's how you can take part. Find the black and white drawing that accompanies this article (if you're reading this in print, it can be found on the Eesti Elu website or our listing on the Estonian Foundation of Canada's online Rahvaõulupuu) and print it out. Then, looking back at the lyrics, look for everything that's mentioned in the song.
For example: a jõulukuu (Christmas moon), saan (a “sleigh” or “sled”), kirik (“church”), aisakell (“jingle bell”), jõuluehted (“ornaments”), jõulupuu (“Christmas tree”), kingitused (“presents”), and jõuluvorstid (“Christmas sausages”). For every object in the lyrics, you can colour that part of the drawing and tick it off from the list underneath. The objects are listed in Estonian and English to help kids learn some new seasonal words. Of course, some of the words are conjugated in the lyrics, so it's a good way to practice Estonian grammar, too.Rõõmsaid jõulupühi ja head vana aasta lõppu!Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!
Written by Vincent Teetsov
Download/Print the PDF Colouring Page from here!