For the 26th time, the Seto Kingdom was proclaimed for a day in the Setomaa region of Southeastern Estonia, this time in the tiny village of Küllätüvä. The pinnacle of Seto Kingdom Day, which is one of the highlights of the Seto calendar, was the democratic direct election of the next ülembsootska, or regent of the god-king Peko.
Saturday's events included competitions to determine the kingdom's new masters of various foods, drinks and hadicrafts, as well as the next royal musicians and dancers.
Those not dressed in Seto folk costumes were issued visas to the kingdom, which also boasted its own post office with custom, limited-edition Kingdom Day stamps and a bank where euros could be exchanged for Seto kroons, or crowns, accepted by all vendors in the kingdom.
Representatives of other minorities were also in attendance, including a 50-strong delegation from Mulgimaa, a region just south of Viljandi.
Three candidates were up for election as the Setos' next ülembsootska. Voting in the Seto Kingdom takes place via direct election, with voters lining up and holding onto a long string leading to the candidate of their choice.
In a close race, Setomaa Municipal Council chairman Rein Järvelill — known according to Seto tradition as Järvelille Rein — was elected with 463 votes.
Triinu-Liis Tarros — or Tarrose Triinu-Liis — was elected the next nuursootska, or youth regent, at the Seto Kingdom's Children's Day, or latsipäiv, in the village of Navikõ on Friday.
Both leaders promised to help improve life in the Setomaa region, which de facto extends beyond the modern-day border with Russia.
"I want for the Seto people to do something now as well," Järvelill told ETV news broadcast "Aktuaalne kaamera," speaking in the Seto language. "Anything — even something very small. Learn even just three words in the Seto lanugage, or learn the Seto language. Maybe write some poems, or helps build up their family home. Everyone needs to do something; only then will we move forward."
"I deal with the youth," Tarros said regarding her new role. "I help them and listen to their troubles. I can see that the future of Setomaa is actually in the hands of its youth and children, and I plan on showing them how beautiful Seto culture is to ensure that they keep it up."
Kingdom every August
Following the confirmation of the new royal court, the official program concluded with a traditional Seto military parade, showing off the might of the region's defenses, which included a unit of spinners together with their spinning wheels.
Celebrations then continued with a kirmas with live music by the local Nedsaja Küla Bänd.
The first Seto Kingdom was proclaimed in Obinitsa in 1994. Since then, Estonia's Seto people have proclaimed the kingdom anew in a different Seto village on the first Saturday of every August.
The next Seto Kingdom Day will be held in Kolossova in 2020.
Editor: Aili Vahtla