Archive for December, 2021

On Saturday, December 11, 2021, 53 members and friends of the Kesk Florida Eesti Selts/Estonian Society of Central Florida, and 11 children aged from 10 months to 10 years, gathered at long last since 2019 at the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Seminole, Florida, to celebrate the Christmas season with a festive traditional Estonian-style Christmas meal (including verivorst, pickled pumpkin and sült and kringel, piparkoogid and roosamanna) and an early appearance by Jõuluvana (Santa Claus) just for our good girls and boys (aged 10 months to 90+ years). Our guests drove from as far away as Brooksville, The Villages, Naples, Orlando and Cocoa Beach; as near as Tampa Bay; and Viivi, Mia and Elli flew in recently from Eesti. How happy we were to see each other again!

While we waited for all our guests to arrive, children were busy decorating piparkoogid at an activity table designed just for them. Merit Laansalu Alvarez guided the activities though it appeared the children were quite experienced already!

Once we settled in, Vincent Delaidatti offered a blessing for our meal. Then hungry folks lined up to pass through our wonderful luncheon table.

Our program began once the meal concluded. Kaie Põhi Latterner, our very talented resident musician and Honorary Consul of Estonia, accompanied our musical program. We sang to well known tunes with familiar lyrics whether our songs were in Estonian, English and Spanish. We even paused to sing Nad Elagu! (Estonian Happy Birthday!) to Urve Põhi (who celebrated her 90th birthday in August) and our December birthday celebrants Heikki Joonsar, Heidi and Nico Laansalu Alvarez.

Our children waited patiently for Jõuluvana to arrive and at long last his knocks were heard at the door. Oh my! What joy!

Once Santa departed, KFES Vice President Moonika Mägi invited us to reflect on the Christmases of our childhood. We had three generations of Estonians and Estonian Americans in the room and what a treat it was to remember bringing in the freshly cut Christmas tree on Christmas Eve and adorning it with candles lit in the dark. We closed our program singing Püha Öö (Silent Night).

Our thanks go to our new KFES Juhatus-Estonian Society of Central Florida Board (Merit Laansalu Alvarez, Moonika Mägi, Inne Joonsar, Triin Karr and Heikki Joonsar). We also thank our members and friends who enhanced our meal, our program and our clean-up through their participation.

The members of the 2021-2022 KFES Juhatus/Estonian Society of Central Florida Board thank you for participating in the survey we emailed in October to collect your contact information and ideas for activities. If you have not yet done so, we invite you to visit this link to our survey so we may be sure we have your up-to-date contact information and ideas too: https://forms.gle/GjP9VJmdR6HAc5US9. We value you and your participation.

We look forward to seeing you at upcoming events in the New Year. Please stay tuned to your email and this website for information as it becomes available.

In the meantime, we wish you all rõõmsaid jõulu pühi ja head uut aastat! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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