In 1960, members of the Estonian women’s academic organizations in Toronto (ENÜS, korp! Filiae Patriae, korp! Indla, korp! Amicitia and korp! Fidentia) decided to celebrate „Küünlapäev „together.
Why was Küünlapäev - known in Europe as Candlemas and in Canada as Groundhog’s Day - chosen for this get-together? According to ancient traditions, Candlemas was not only a festival marking the mid-point of winter, halfway between the shortest day and the equinox, it was also celebrated as a holiday for women (naiste püha). On this day women put aside their daily chores – they got together, they drank together
and they celebrated together! The men stayed home and tended to the children and to household chores.
A holiday for women is obviously an appealing concept for women! In fact, so appealing that the members of the women’s academic organizations in Toronto have kept the tradition of a Küünalpäeva women’s day alive for more than half a century. In fact, for the past 15 or so years, the event has been gathering momentum and has become a well-attended, lively and fun happening for women ranging in age from 19 to 91! Like Estonian women and good wine.....Küünlapäev is aging well.
For 52 years, the 5 women’s organizations have taken turns organizing this annual celebration and every year the organizers are faced with the challenge of coming up with a new, interesting and refreshing theme for the event. And the other organizations are faced with the equally challenging task of coming up with a unique, clever or interesting presentation based on the theme chosen by the organizers.
This year’s organizer – korp! Filiae Patriae – chose a very “woman-friendly“ theme – “Fashion and Fashion Design“! The Filiae women put on a smashing fashion show, which highlighted the designs of some current Estonian designers and demonstarted what today’s fashionable and elegant Estonian
women choose to put on their backs.
Choosing a variation on the theme, the Amicitia women brought the house down with their contrasting fashion show demonstrating “what not to wear where “ and “where not to wear what“! A presentation about Estonian fashions in the 30’s by Maret Truuvert of ENÜS and another about the life and times of
influencial French fashion designer Coco Chanel by Merike Sillamäe of korp! Indla rounded out the many-faceted and enjoyable Küünlapäeva program.
Once Küünlapäev is over, spring and the AKEN rummage sale is not far behind! This year’s MINIBASAAR and BAKE SALE is scheduled for Saturday May 5th at St Andrew’s Lutheran Church at the corner of Carlton and Jarvis Streets. Stay tuned for further details!
Toronto Estonian women’s academic organizations celebrate “Küünlapäev” on February 5, 2012 at Tartu College