Estonian Midsummer bonfire. Photo by: Enterprise Estonia
But simply spending weekends or
holidays in the country is also a very
Estonian thing to do. In their summer
homes Estonians hoe, weed, create
vegetable and flower beds, grow herbs,
build, and then, if there is some time left
over, relax. Time in the country often
includes going to sauna. The smoke
sauna tradition in Võromaa is included in
the UNESCO Representative List of the
Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Estonians enjoy spending time outdoors in general. Almost a quarter of Estonia’s territory is classified as nature reserves. Bumping into each other in summer, Estonians invariably ask where and when the other has gone swimming lately. Because having gone swimming proves that summer has not been wasted. The Estonian summer is not the longest, but the coast boasts kilometres of sandy beaches, and then there are all the rivers and lakes. Winter swimming is gaining popularity too, by the way.
Classic Estonian sauna by the countryside. Photo by: Magnus Heinmets / Enterprise Estonia
The rest of the year Estonians consume
culture. Similarly to other northern
European countries with long winters and
rainy autumns, the consumption of culture
is high in Estonia. The population of 1.3
million manage to visit museums 3.4 million
times a year, while 3.5 million visits are
made to the cinema, 2 million to concerts,and 1.2 million to theatres. Estonians are
the leading theatregoers in the world.
Next to jaanipäev, jõulud (yuletide, or Scandinavian ‘jule’) is the most important holiday for Estonians;it is celebrated during the darkest time of the year just after winter solstice. The name ‘jõulud’ alludes to the pre-Christian roots of this tradition. Nowadays, jõulud is primarily a family-centred holiday. People decorate their Christmas trees on 24 December, have a festive meal, and wait for Santa Claus or elves to arrive with a Santa sack.
Annual Tallinn Old Town Christmas Market. Photo by: Karl Markus Antson / Enterprise EstoniaBACK TO ALL QUESTIONS