Kihnu- An island ruled by strong, independent women

Kihnu- An island ruled by strong, independent women

- Kihnu only has 400 inhabitants of which the majority are women

- Due to the men hardly being there the women have taken over and rule the island

- The island faces a crisis with preserving its traditions as they battle to keep youngster from leaving

Kihnu- An island ruled by strong, independent women

Kihnu- An island ruled by strong, independent women

Kihnu, an island located in the Baltic Sea, is a place ruled by women. Men are a very rare sight on this piece of Estonian land.

With only 400 inhabitants, this small place of pastoral tranquillity is one of the last matriarchal societies in the world.

The women of Kihnu don’t have anything against men though. They just have had no choice but to take over the social and administrative reins.

The reason for this is that the men are away for months at a time as they provide for the community by fishing.

This in turn leaves the women in charge. For centuries now they have been raising the kids, working in the fields and handling the matters of governance.

Briefly.co.za learned that Mare Matas is the leader of the community and doubles as the president of the Kihnu Cultural Space Foundation.

She explains that due to the men being away so often, it has forced the women of the island to become strong and independent.

Kihnu- An island ruled by strong, independent women

The ladies are particularly adamant to preserve the traditions and heritage of Kihnu.

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“Kihnu culture is interesting because we still wear traditional costumes as our everyday wearing. We have ancient folk songs still alive and dances…Kihnu wedding songs and wedding traditions are more than 2,000 years old,” Matas notes.

Oddity Central shared that it can however prove a challenge to preserve a legacy when the young people leave to pursue better jobs and higher education and often never return to the island.

The island is quite popular during the summer with European tourists, but other than that there are no attractive opportunities to keep the youngsters around.

“Kihnu culture is interesting because we still wear traditional costumes as our everyday wearing. We have ancient folk songs still alive and dances…Kihnu wedding songs and wedding traditions are more than 2,000 years old,” Matas notes.

A good thing though is that officials have not been sitting idly. The Kihnu culture, and more specifically their wedding traditions have been recognized as a UNESCO masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

The Kihnu Museum has also been fixed up and it serves to conserve the local history, honors prominent residents and keeps the island’s customs and conventions alive.

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Kihnu- An island ruled by strong, independent women

Kihnu does prove to have its challenges though and residents say that living there isn’t for the faint of heart.

Matas reckons life on the island is a whole different way of living compared to on the island and survival is much harder.

The locals wouldn’t change anything though and still believe they live in the best place on earth.

Would you be able to live like the women of Kihnu? Inbox us on our Facebook page and we could feature your story.

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Source: Buzz.briefly.co.za

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