First is the holidays. Halloween and Thanksgiving don't exist, in their place is a pair of odd cross dressing holidays where boys dress up as girls and then girls dress up as boys and go around reciting poetry and asking for candy. (They are called Kadri and Mardi days). Of course if we disregard my cultural bias this holiday is less weird than dressing up as some goblin or ghost for Halloween. But the dressing up aside, the candy aspect just isn't there. When I read that my nephew threw up from eating too much candy last Halloween I realized how much Estonians were missing when it comes to the candy culture. In addition to Kadri and Mardi day Estonians also have a souls' day which is kind of like a more somber memorial day where Estonians light candles at home and also in cemetaries. No Pumpkin pie in November.
Also take away the start of the NBA season and the NFL and you get a dull dark November. I wondered if it was perhaps a bit of home sickness and my extreme enthusiasm for the San Francisco 49ers and the Utah Jazz that caused this perception, but then I compared our calenders for the month of November and realized that his was not just my perception, this was a valid contrast.
The difference in our two calendars is striking. On the left is our Estonian calendar (notice that Sunday is the 7th day? I love that). It has different Estonian art work. Usually if focuses on rural life and nature pictures. The other months have been very warm and nice. November was a picture of a snowy cemetery. It immediately gave me the creeps and made me want to take the calendar down. Since the 2nd of November is Souls' day I guess it is somewhat fitting, but still!?
Our US calendar is of LDS temples, it is a very happy picture with beautiful fall colors, orange, red, yellows. True fall weather. The difference between the two couldn't be bigger. Lucky for me, this year has been a very mild fall, no snow yet. Also, the 49ers are playing on Thanksgiving this year! I'll be getting a week long NFL game pass and enjoying all the football I can for 7 days. That is something to be thankful for.