What is “Uma Pido”?
Uma Pido is a Võro-language song and folk festival. Uma Pido has been held five times: for the first time in May 2008 in Kubija on the outskirts of the town of Võru; in May 2010 and 2016 in the Intsikurmu area of Põlva; in June 2013 and 2018 again in Kubija, Võru. Uma Pido might also be called the global reunion of Võro people. This festival strengthens the local sense of belonging and identity with Võro culture and language space, jumpstarts cultural life, brings together guests, and encourages the Võro people who are working and living abroad to come back home.
The sixth Uma Pido will be held in Intsikurmu, Põlva on the 1st of June 2024. The regular tradition of a celebration in the Võro peoples’ own language has been born.
What is part of the Uma Pido tradition?
The idea was born during the annual gathering of Võro people during the Kaika Summer University in 2006 where the governors of Põlva and Võru Counties were discussing cultural co-operation in the Võro culture space. The decision was made to have the Uma Pido folk and song festival to value local heritage and language and to unite the Võro cultural room.
The Võro cultural space – defined by the Võro-speakers – includes the eight parishes of Karula, Hargla, Kanepi, Urvaste, Vastseliina, Rõuge, Põlva, and Räpina. These parishes are currently centered (due to historic redistricting) in Võru and Põlva counties with parts extending into Valga and Tartu counties.
Besides the national anthem of the Republic of Estonia performed in Estonian, all the songs and performances – both during the day and including the evening’s main concert – are held in the Võro language. All three Uma Pido festivals have been recorded on DVD. A wide range of adult and children’s choir groups participate in Uma Pido with community and school groups diligently and enthusiastically learning the repertoire for each festival; singers and musicians range in age from pre-school children to great-grandmas and –pas. The organizers have witnessed the tremendous growth in participation and popularity of Uma Pido with the number of participants and audience growing from 6000 in 2008 to 8000 in 2013.
What is the Võro language?
The Võro language, like Estonian, Hungarian, and Finnish, is a Finno-Ugric language. Võro is a descendant of the old South Estonian tribal language and is the least influenced by North Estonian. In addition to Võro, other contemporary South Estonian languages include Mulgi, Tartu and Seto. The earliest written evidence of South Estonian is a translation of the New Testament published in 1688. Although the status of South Estonian began to diminish after the 1880s, the language began to undergo a revival in the late 1980s. Today, South Estonian is used in the works of some of Estonia’s most well known playwrights, poets, and authors.
There are approximately 70,000 active and passive users of the Võro language all around the world. The bulk of the Võro-language speakers, however, are found in historical Võromaa (Võro Shire), which refers to the territory bounded by the same county lines from 1783 to 1920. The Võro language was also once spoken further south and east of historical Võromaa in what is now Latvia and Russia. Today, many Võro-language speakers can also be found in Tallinn, Tartu and the rest of Estonia.
See more about Võro language: http://www.wi.ee/
Where is Võromaa?