Estonia officially the Republic of Estonia is a state in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the south by Latvia, and to the east by Lake Peipus and Russia. Across the Baltic Sea lies Sweden in the west and Finland in the north.
Christmas Celebrations in Estonia :
Christmas time is still the most important holiday celebrated in Estonia. For Estonians, Christmas is a mixture of traditional, modern, secular and religious. Like in other Nordic states, Estonia’s celebration of Christmas mostly falls on Christmas Eve, however Christmas season starts in Advent with people buying Advent calendars or lighting Advent candles. In Estonian folk-tradition Christmas has a double meaning: on one hand, it is marking Christ’s birth, on the other, it marks the whole period of mid-winter holidays. The magic and mysticism of ancient pagan traditions shares the season with the sacred and spiritual celebrations.
Estonians trace some of their Christmas customs back to a pre-Christian midwinter festival called Yule. The Estonian word for Christmas, Jõulud, comes from the Scandinavian word Jul, which in turn is related to the English word Yule. Estonian folklorists believe that before Christianity came to Estonia, people celebrated this midwinter festival at the time of the winter solstice. Early Christmas celebrations lasted about seventeen days, from St. Thomas’s Day, December 21, to Epiphany, January 6. In coastal areas people ended their celebrations on January 7, which they observed as St. Knut’s Day.
During Advent, gnomes bring candy and fruit to the children. The gift-bringer on Christmas Eve is an old man called Jouluvana. Christmas Eve itself begins with a cleansing trip to the nearest sauna. Children are often given new clothes and shoes to wear to evening church services and the festive meal that follows.
Traditional Estonian Christmas food includes goose or pork with Estonian sauerkraut (mulgikapsad), blood sausage, sauerkraut and potato salad made with red beets. Popular Christmas desserts are gingerbread, marzipan, fruit cake and cookies called Pipparkogid made from peppercorn, cocoa and cinnamon and beer is also drunk as a part of the holiday festivities. During this festive period people feasted on special foods and refrained from certain kinds of work.
Christmas celebrations are grand in the capital city of Tallinn where you see good Christmas Markets as well. Apart from that Christmas celebrations are notable in other big cities in Estonia like – Tartu, Narva, Kohtla-Järve, Pärnu, Viljandi, etc.
In Estonian people wish Merry Christmas saying Häid Jõule!
Wishing all readers Merry Christmas 2019 & Happy New Year 2020 !!!