Peeter Joot's (OLD) Blog.

Math, physics, perl, and programming obscurity.

What’s in a name. The meaning of Joot.

Posted by peeterjoot on October 10, 2009

Mostly verbatim from my Dad:

I’ve been listening to Estonian podcasts. The most recent series concerned the guilds, merchants and so on starting in the Middle Ages and going into the 17th Century. I had heard a couple of these, and the subject material was of very little interest to me until I hit a couple of them which sheds some light about the origin of our family name.

I don’t necessarily want to transcribe the episodes, but will give a summary of what I heard.

Basically a “joot” was a festive occasion ( the use of the word in this sense is not current used in the language.) Strictly speaking these “joots” were feasts usually held in guild ( trade or merchant associations )halls, where there was plenty to eat drink. Sometimes dancing was an element in these “joots”.

There were three major events during the year where “ joots ” played an important part in festivities. These were the times around Christmas, Easter, and the coming of summer in the month of May. The Christmas and Easter events were usually two weeks long, and the one in May one week. There were other events during the year which were not as long, but all of them ended with a “joot”.

The two week events involved parades, musicians ( a lot of drummers and (bag-pipers )dancing, singing, presentations of all kinds of events – street dancing and singing, sword, spear and torch dances done by men, costumes ( one favourite one was that of the Devil). These were much in the spirit of a carnival and the festivities were always followed by a “joot”

The May celebrations which usually lasted for a week, where a “prince of spring” was chosen always ended up with a “joot”. Some of these involved burning of effigies etc.

Some of the shorter celebrations or events involved target shooting ( first with cross-bows and later with rifles ), horse races, and contests of various kinds always followed by a “joot” where there was plenty to eat and drink.

Here’s a little more info about the word “joot”

1.)Although the word “joot” is not today used in the mediaeval sense of a gala “state” celebration, it still today carries on the connotation of a festive event which consists of a get-together of which drinking is a definite part. I have never heard the word or seen the word in print with this meaning, but it does exist in a BIG dictionary.( The action word of “jooma” means to drink, and a “joot” would describe the event where drinking took place.

2.)There is another word “jootma” which means to solder. A jootraud would be a soldering iron. ( Raud means iron )

3.) There is a combining word form “jootraha” (“raha” means money) which means essentially a tip such that you would give for good service in a restaurant. There are apparently some dictionaries in Estonian which trace back the words to their source, but I don’t own one of them. I would suspect that the derivation of “jootraha” goes back to number 1.). This would probably go to the custom of tipping of what I would assume to be the serving wenches for good service or the hope of good future service. Alternately and more probably, the giving of tips had its origin in the participants of “joots” giving money to the organizers of these in the way of fixed “donations” or donations in accordance to their ability to pay. So its joining in to pay for the celebrations.

This covers the variations to some degree in the name.


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