h oly groves from antiquity to modern times n.
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H oly Groves-From Antiquity To Modern Times. What Is A Holy Grove?.

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what is a holy grove
What Is A Holy Grove?
  • In Estonian folk traditiona natural holy place, where with help of ritualsand sacrificing people aspired to the favour ofhigher forces (spirits,deities, forefathers).As maintainers of place memory,as places of intact nature,where modern people can relax and find peace in their souls, they are still important for many people today.
isles of untouched nature
Isles of Untouched Nature

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.

altered world and mind
Altered World and Mind
  • The majority of natural holy places are in bad condition today.Their look has mainly been formed by our violent political past and repressing our ancient cultural traditions
  • Since the occupation of Estonia in the 13th century foreign authorities have seeked for,damaged and destroyed natural holy places.
  • In addition, the foreign authorities destroyed the holy places for economical reasons
kurem gi

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.

from the holy grove to the russian orthodox nonnery
From the Holy Grove to the Russian Orthodox Nonnery

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.

own people versus own people
Own people versus Own People?
  • Todayour own pragmatical and greedy for profit manner of thoughtand inconsideratenessis destroyingoursprituality andourhistoricaland culturalmemory.Todayour ownpeople protect the holy groves from our own people.Hopefully with good results.