Tänavalt. From the Street.Eesti Elu
Estonia has its own Hallowe'en. It's called mardi/päev, (Saint) Martin's Day and kids run from house to house performing and awaiting treats in return on the evening before mardipäev, that being Nov. 9. This is during the extended period in the fall when peoples' souls are believed to come home to visit; a phenomenon which is approached with respect. There is no overt spookyness associated with hingede/aeg, the time of souls, or with mardipäev, which is why Hallowe'en, with its pumped up spook factor, is intriguing to kids the world over.
The name of this company, whose vehicle was spotted in Tartu on the weekend before Hallowe'en (juhus? coincidence?), deals with ohtlikud puud (dangerous trees) ja ära/vedu (and transporting them ära, elsewhere) and is called vikati/mees. Literally "scythe man" aka the Grim Reaper or Reaper Man. This is actually quite an odd choice of name, since although Estonians do have a good sense of humour, including leaning towards must huumor or dark (black) humour, they also tend to be quite eba/usklikud or superstitious. It's generally not a good idea to joke about, mention, or call threatening things by their real name. Talking about vikatimees equates to not referring to it, surm or death, by its real name. In Tartu, the allegory or personification of death will arrive, for a price, to end the lives of dangerous trees and hopefully no one or nothing else... Give vikatimees a call. If you dare! Happy belated Hallowe'en to all kids and kids at heart! Photo and text: Riina Kindlam.