President Honors Guardians of Nation's Folklore
The head of state, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, handed out the 2011 President’s Folklore Prizes at the Literary Museum in Tartu on March 13.
The prize went to Leelo Kund and Margit Korotkova, who collected materials related to the religion and customs of the Seto people, a minority culture living in southeastern Estonia. Two other recipients were Triin Kusmin, for her work in preserving the cultural heritage of Estonian forests, and Age-Kristel Kartau, who collected materials on alternative medicine.
The prize money, 1,500 euros, was divided among the four recipients, the Office of the President said in a statement.
The massive collection of Estonian folklore that writer Jakob Hurt initiated in the late 1880s became a cornerstone in the support for Estonia's becoming an independent nation decades later, Ilves noted.
"Our folklore has always displayed the desire for independence and self-decision," said Ilves, adding that through folklore it is possible to understand what happened in Estonia during different periods of history and how people perceived major events.
The prize was first presented in 1935 during Estonia's first period of independence and given out each year until the 1940 Soviet occupation. The tradition was revived in 1993.