Tallinn chimney sweepers
Tallinn city now has around 300 sweepers for 440 950 inhabitants. There are 4 female chimney sweepers in Estonia. Kristina (24) graduated this summer and is enjoying the start of her fresh career. Jürmo (27) and Silvar (24) are also from the new generation of sweepers. Local Estonians have believed for centuries that the chimney sweeper brings good luck to people and their homes. This traditional belief originates from England where so many kids met death when doing this dangerous work. When a child made it safely out of the chimney, the housewives secretly stole a twig form the sweepers broom. He was considered a lucky child, and the women kept the twig as a luck talisman in the house. In Estonia, firewood is still the main source for heat during most of the year, especially outside bigger cities. Having the chimneys and ovens cleaned lowers the risk of accidental fires and contributes to efficient heating in the winter. The trademark black uniform with large golden buttons is noticed in the street by everyone – people approach the sweeper and ask to touch a button. It is believed that this brings good luck for the future. The local women sometimes welcome the man in the uniform for a hug, even when he’s covered in soot. Many inhabitants offer the sweepers a cup of warm coffee, cake or even a bottle of something stronger to take with, once they are done with the work. This leaves you with a feeling of warm welcome, appreciation as well as helps the men get through their long days, often without breaks. One could even think of such hospitality towards strangers as a somewhat mythical offer to the gods.