10May2018

TIMES AND SEASONS: ESTONIA VS NIGERIA – Hakeem (NIGERIA)

All things (nature, sky, forest, animals, and human beings alike) are coming back to life with the entrance of the spring season, and it is getting better by the day as we are moving towards the time of welcoming the most sought after season, that of summer. On the first day of May (May 1st), there was the official celebration day of Spring season in Estonia, but, as a Nigerian, this was quite new because May 1st, just like in many other countries of the world, is specifically a day to celebrate the workers day in my country and it is usually a public holiday which gives the workers the opportunity to organise one peaceful protest or another. It was a little bit of a surprise as the main reasons (based on events and activities) for celebrating the day that is popularly known as “workers day’’ in Nigeria is to welcome ‘‘the spring season’’ in Estonia.

Figure 1: Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC)

In Nigeria, unlike Estonia, which has four(4) seasons (Autumn, Winter, Spring and Summer), there are only two major seasons; the ‘‘raining season’’, which is usually from the month of April to October, and the ‘‘dry season’’, which takes place from November to March. In between the two seasons, there is usually a very short season called ‘‘Harmattan period’’, which can be interpreted as Nigeria’s winter season. This short season generally starts around the middle of November and lasts until January. But, so hilariously, the temperature during the harmattan period is usually as high as 38°C during the day and at the most minimum of 12°C in the cold night (just imagine, 12°C is the coldest in Nigeria). The Harmattan period is characterised by Hazy cloud from the Sahara desert which finds its way through to the Gulf of Guinea (the Gulf of Guinea is made up of the maritime area located in the western part of the African continent. It includes eight countries bordering the Atlantic Ocean – Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Sao Tome and Principe; with Angola and Congo as newest comers) . It comes with red like dusts from the desert and it always makes everything dry and clumsy.

Traditional Estonian wear

On May 1st, the populace in Estonia commemorated the occasion of spring day, which by this period has entirely replaced or override the winter. According to local sources, this day is also recognised as International Workers’ Day and Volber, which is a traditional Estonian celebration from the ancient times and it was the time of magic, bonfires, singing and dancing. People made it a tradition to dress up as witches the night before and make huge bonfires which serve as a gathering place for dancing, singing, and drinking. Although there was not so much of this traditional display among the locals nowadays, it currently is mostly known as the number-one celebration for students, and it is celebrated in earnest in Tartu, being a student city and Estonia’s second largest or most populated city. In Estonian language, it is called ‘‘Kevadpüha’’

In conclusion, now that I am here in Estonia, as a saying goes; ‘‘when you are in Rome, behave like a Roman’’ and ‘‘if you cannot beat them, you join them’’, I have decided to join the flow and hope for the best of what the spring season can provide.