Kihnu’s geographic isolation, strong sense of community spirit and their steadfast attachment to the customs of their ancestors have enabled the people of Kihnu to preserve their identity.
Kihnu Island is home to a community of 600 people.
For many years, the men of Kihnu have frequently gone to sea while the women run the island. Kihnu women have become guardians of the island's cultural heritage which includes numerous songs, games, dances, wedding ceremonies and handicrafts.
The Kihnu wedding was proclaimed as a UNESCO Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. Unfortunately the last traditional Kihnu wedding was held in 1995 and only time will tell whether this unique tradition with its ancient customs and songs will live on, or if it will be practised only as entertainment for tourists.
The most visible emblems of Kihnu culture are the woollen handicrafts worn by the women. Using traditional looms and local wool, the women weave and knit mittens, stockings, skirts and blouses which often feature bright colours, vivid stripes and intricate embroidery. Many of the symbolic forms and colours are rooted in ancient legends. Unlike Kihnu men, the women wear their national costumes in everyday life.
Try to visit Kihnu during their traditional celebrations or on church holidays like Christmas, Midsummer's Day and St. Catherine's Day when you can witness their ancient traditions.
Kihnu museum hosts exhibits about the history of the island, the life and times of famous local captain, Kihnu Jõnn, and a collection of paintings by the renowned artist, Jaan Oad. Across the road from the museum you’ll find the Kihnu Orthodox church and cemetery.
For people whose interests are culture and heritage Kihnu is a “must visit.”