We know local.

„Events, Food, Music, Culture, Nightlife“
Book your hotel here
Entry date:
Departure Date:
Rooms
Read our paper on-lineOr download the PDF

Old and new traditions


04. December 2012

Old and new traditions

Estonian folk Kristina Lupp Editor-in chief Soviet Period New Year’s Eve

The holidays are truly a magical time in Estonia. This season gives you a glimpse into the old peasant traditions associated with this time of year. According to the Estonian folk calendar, the Christmas season begins on December 21, with St. Thomas Day, and ends on January 6, The Epiphany. The Christmas season was traditionally celebrated from December 25-27, and the most important celebration was Christmas Eve, December 24. This still continues today.

The word Jõulud, meaning Christmas in Estonian, comes from the old Scandinavian word Jul. The association of Christmas with Jesus Christ is relatively recent. Christmas marked the Winter Solstice, the shortest day and the longest night. It reflected the customs and traditions of the peasants, where certain tasks had to be performed during this period, and other tasks were banned. For example, milling, spinning, and quilling were banned, as it was thought that they were too noisy and would disturb the “good spirits.”

Pigs were slaughtered and homemade ale and mead were brewed. The pork was served as a roast with sauerkraut. Blood sausages and sült (headcheese) were prepared, and bread was made. These culinary traditions still continue today. Christmas straw would be brought into the house, and Christmas crowns made.

The Christmas tree is also a recent tradition, introduced by the Baltic German nobility in the middle of the 19th century. The manor house lords would throw Christmas parties for the servants and their families. The tree would be decorated with toys, candies, and candles.

During the Soviet Period, Christmas was banned. New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day were the only official holidays during this period. However, Christmas continued to be celebrated unofficially with family meals in the home on Christmas Eve, and the lighting of candles on the graves of family members. At the end of the Soviet period, Christmas trees began to appear in homes once again.

On December 24, the President of Estonia declares peace, a 350-year-old tradition that still continues today.

Happy Holidays!

Kristina Lupp

Editor-in chief

Spring Fever

Spring Fever

Ah, the smell of spring in the air! Longer days, more sunshine, and the anticipation of summer being just around […]

05. April 2016

February showers  bring March flowers

February showers bring March flowers

My apologies for last month when I went on about how wonderful the snow was and how we could look […]

01. March 2016

Beating the winter blues

Beating the winter blues

The past few winters in Estonia have been more of a grey season. This year, everyone is hoping for a […]

07. January 2016

A Brief History of Mulled Wine

A Brief History of Mulled Wine

Wandering the streets of Tallinn’s Old Town in November, you’re bound to come across the warm, spiced smell of mulled wine […]

12. November 2015

Eating October

Eating October

Food culture comes in all shapes and sizes and in Estonia it’s no different. IIn the four years that I have lived […]

12. October 2015

Apple Season

Apple Season

Harvest season has begun, but what I personally notice many of is apples. Coming into the office in September, everyone has a […]

16. September 2015

Soaking in the last days of summer

Soaking in the last days of summer

Summer is festival time in Estonia and just because the long days are getting shorter and the weather a little cooler, […]

26. August 2015

In case you haven’t heard…

In case you haven’t heard…

You can now get a sneak peek at Estonia on your way to Tallinn. Since May, The Baltic Guide English and […]

30. June 2015