Fortunately, the re-establishment of independence in 1991 did not demand a single victim in Estonia, but it did not come easy. The new way of life required getting used to, and young people put off starting a family.
Now, years later, the number of births is increasing again. Many young people prefer cohabitation to marriage and are in no hurry to tie the knot even when they have children. An average Estonian family has 1-3 children, and grandparents live separately. Families come together at Christmas and birthday parties.
The extended family meets at important jubilee celebrations, but extended family reunions are also popular. The genealogy of Estonian families mostly reaches back to the 18th century, and earlier information is vague or was destroyed in the Great Northern War (which took place from 1700-1710 on Estonian territory). Considering Estonia’s modest population (1.3 million), it is not rare to find a distant relative in the course of a casual conversation.
Estonian family life is more or less closed to strangers. However, when a colleague invites you home, you should seize the opportunity. Forming close friendships takes time, but once you are accepted, you will find sincere and faithful friends.