It makes sense that the onslaught of cheaply-made, mass-produced Christmas decorations would reach Eesti. How could it not? But being the nostalgic purist that I am, I’m always a bit surprised and disappointed when I spy tacky, flashing decorations instead of... I don’t even know – traditionally-made handicrafts braided out of stalks of rye or crocheted?
So when I recently spied a tartan-patterned, huge (obviously not to be worn) stocking, sporting a black moose no less, I thought “WHY?! No one knows what to do with this thing here!” That was in the Lithuanian discount food store Maxima. Then, across Tartu maantee at the Keskturg (Central Market), a sign advertising Eesti sokid caught my eye. I couldn’t resist. What are eesti sokid? Okei, made in Eesti sure, but “eesti sokk” seemed to almost imply a certain type, a particular breed of sock, by the way the name was displayed on the pairs laid out neatly row on row. I’m rather ashamed to admit I’d never heard of them before, only to later hear my husband buys only locally-made Suva sukavabriku (stocking factory) socks.
But why the name Suva? The word suva happens to be used in slang as a short form of the word suvaline, meaning any-old, arbitrary, it doesn’t really matter which. As in Millist kooki sa soovid? (Which cake do you want?) Ei ole vahet, vali mulle üks suvaline. (It doesn’t matter, pick whichever.) You could even say: Mul on suva, võta üks suvaline. (I don’t care, pick whichever.)
Hopefully the makers of Suva socks or those that wear them are not so indifferent. It seemed to me that their price to quality to cuteness ratio was on the money. And it was great that a vene müüjanna (Russian saleslady) was selling “eesti sokid” väga kiiduväärses eesti keeles (in very commendable Estonian).
Not a Christmas stocking, but an eesti sokk!