H oly Groves-From Antiquity To Modern Times. What Is A Holy Grove?.
First it was probably used for funerals.It was tabu and holy-any desecration was forbidden (treading,breaking branches,cutting trees). The grove used to be abroad-leaved wood near the village on a hill, a valley, beside a dell or source, where people sacrificed for dead ancestors. Later they offered up forunderground creatures and fairies living in the grove or in the grove trees.They also offered up toholy trees and stones.
Christening started destroying holy groves.
The catholic church erected its crosses and chapelson the groves.The lutherian church tried to root outall traditional customs. So they cut down old respectable trees in many places.Despite of that funerals in grovestook place in 17th – 18thcenturies. Honouring groves and holy trees ended in the beginning of the 19th century.But people remembered old holy places and trees until the beginning of the 20th century.
The hill Kuremägi near Illuka is also an ancient holy grove.Here is the holy oakand holy source where people offered up. After the legend the hill was erected by the epic heroe Kalevipoeg; he also planted the oak-tree.
Today the most part of this grove is a place of the newer and later ideology.
The special spirit of Kuremäe has probably also been felt by foreigners.The orthodox nonnery was established here intsarist timesand Russification.A chapel stands now by the holy oak-tree.
But some things stay the same: the holy source of Pre-Christian times is also honoured by Christians of today.They bathe there,they drink of it… and offer up, throwing coins in it.