Setos celebrate Kingdom Day and elect ülemsootska


The Seto people celebrated their 27th Kingdom Day on Saturday, with their own currency and laws issued for a day, a Seto military parade held and Seto chief (ülemsootska) elected.

Before the symbolic gates of the kingdom were opened, the Seto kroonikogu (crown assembly), made up of former ülemsootskas, assembled at the statue of Seto god of fertility and mythical king Peko on Jumalamäe. Next, a parade to the tune of church bells in Pechory descended onto the valley floor where the Seto flag was hoisted and the Seto Kingdom declared for a day.

This year and for the first time, Kingdom Day took place in the tiny village of Kolossova on the shores of the Piusa River.

For just one day, it is possible to pay traders in Seto currency. The Kingdom Day sees the best bakers, cheese, beer, wine and hansa (moonshine) makers elected for the king's court. Seto folk song and dance fills the day. The most important part of the day is the election of the new earthly deputy of mythical king Peko, the Seto ülemsootska. The chief is elected by supporters lining up in front of their preferred candidate. This year, Ülemsootska Rein Järvelill was reelected.

This is modern-day Setomaa's most important event, and the largest gathering of Setos.

The Setos have their own king, Peko, the hero of the Seto national epic. According to legend, Peko is is sleeping in the caves of the Pskov-Caves Monastery, and therefore can't rule the kingdom himself.

Therefore, the Setos choose an ülembsootska in his place who is chosen in the most democratic way: by how many people line up behind him or her.

President Kersti Kaljulaid also attended.

Kersti Kaljualid at Seto Kingdom Day on September 5, 2020. Source: Office of the President.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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