Let us have a brief, casual look at the folk calendar festivals of Estonia. We have made a selection of festivities which were celebrated in olden days and are also enjoyed by Estonians today; some date back to pre-historic times others are related to Christianity; some traditional ways of celebrating have been retained, while others have changed. There are also some new traditions related to folk calendar festivities. We have tried to present the most basic activities and beliefs related to these festivities in the past and nowadays and take a look at traditional food and drink characteristic of the given holiday.

Estonia is a small country but regional differences are remarkable. This can be observed very clearly when comparing folk costumes or the diet of the people in coastal areas with the costumes, customs and diet of the mainland farmers. In these pages an effort has been made to find the common element characterizing all of us.


Q: What holy days and festivities did Estonians have in olden days and which are the ones still celebrated nowadays?
A: Let us have a brief look at the Estonian Folk Calendar.

There are several ways to mark the passing of a year. We may look at the plants growing and turning yellow in autumn. We may look at the Sun and note the time when the Sun is at the lowest point. Farmers end their year when all their crops have been harvested. Schoolchildren finish their academic year when their summer holidays start.

There are four seasons in Estonia: winter, spring, summer and autumn.

talv   sügis