New Year customs in Tooma farm of Pahavalla village

Farm owner Feodor Rüütel Pöide,
his wife Juulia Rüütel Pöide,
their daughter Leida Rüütel Pöide,
the bear tamer Aleksei Room Valjala,
Oskar Koel (concertina) Pöide (1961)

NB! Audio may not be available throughout video.

The movie introduces some New Year customs recorded on the Tooma farm of Pahavalla village (Laimjala municipality). The New Year lads and the New Year buck were initially welcomed as creatures that brought good harvest and luck, the taming of the bear became a tradition on a later date. Men engaged in games of strength and sleight, while guests were offered nuts and homemade beer. All this must have once carried the meaning of fecundity magic; later on only the entertaining function remained.

The evening, however, was taken up by the filming of the New-Year Billy Goat on my father-in-law's farm. Due to the beer offered by the family, singing and good spirits lasted through the night. Mulgu Seiu (Aleksei Room), the bear tamer of our New-Year Billy Goat movie, a strong and sturdy man ("A hundred and twenty-one kilos, boots included!") with a good singing voice and even better storytelling talent, he generously shared his repertoire of songs and stories way into the night. We were lucky to record some songs, although his stories were also worth it; he was a real artist of storytelling.
Thus our expedition ended in a rather curious way: we recorded newer folk songs until half past two in the morning in the most natural environment and which were performed in the most authentic manner. (From I. Rüütel's field work diary, June 11, 1961; Rüütel 2015: 180)

Video ERA, DV 110. Audio RKM, Mgn II 460 i, b.



Asva village (Pöide)

Audla village (Pöide)

Haeska village (Valjala)

Kalma village (Pöide)

Kiriku village (Valjala)

Kungla village (Valjala)

Kõiguste village (Pöide)

Kõnnu village (Valjala)

Liiva-Putla village (Püha)

Loona village (Püha)

Mässa village (Jämaja)

Orinõmme village (Pöide)

Oti settlement (Pöide)

Pahavalla village (Pöide)

Ridala village (Pöide)

Soonda village (Muhu)


Turja village (Valjala)

Tõnija village (Valjala)

Veere village (Pöide)

Võhma village (Pöide)

Sound recordings


Online edition

Editors Janika Oras, Kadi Sarv
Translation into English Inna Feldbach, Olga Ivaškevitš
Selection of photos Aivo Põlluäär
Project co-ordinator Risto Järv
Web design Lorem Ipsum
Cover photo Ingrid Rüütel 2007 (private collection)

Sponsors of the web publication

Ensemble Trad.Attack!
Ministry of Education and Research (projekt IUT22-4)
The European Union through the European Regional Development Fund (Centre of Excellence in Estonian Studies)
The Cultural Endowment of Estonia


ELM Scholarly Press, 2018
© and ℗ Estonian Literary Museum, 2018
© Ingrid Rüütel
ISBN 978-9949-586-57-8

Online edition is based on

Saaremaa rahvamuusikat ja kombeid /
Traditional Music and Customs of Saaremaa

Collected and compiled by Ingrid Rüütel.
Recordings from the Estonian Folklore Archives 8. Tartu 2014

[CD, DVD and textbook]
Sound production and CD mastering Jaan Tamm
DVD editing and mastering Jaan Kolberg
Editor Janika Oras
Translation into English Inna Feldbach
Design and text book layout Krista Saare
Print Kruuli Trükikoja AS
Replication Baltic Disc AS

Rüütel, Ingrid. Saaremaa laule ja lugusid. Mis on jäänud jälgedesse I
[The Songs and Tales of Saaremaa. What Remains in Our Traces I]

Tartu: ELM Scholarly Press 2015

Editor Asta Niinemets
Music transcription Ingrid Rüütel, Ludmilla Toon, Edna Tuvi
Notation editing Ingrid Rüütel, Edna Tuvi
Sheet music graphics Edna Tuvi
Texts transcription Erna Tampere, Ingrid Rüütel
Dialectic texts editor Ester Kuusik
Translation of summary Inna Feldbach
Layout and design Krista Saare
Print OÜ Greif Trükikoda