The Christmas village will take place at the Estonian Open Air Museum on 16 and 17 December from 11.00 to 16.00!
Have you ever stuffed sausage casings with meat or made aspic? Who of you remembers riding a
horse-drawn sleigh or cart to the church during Christmas season? Do you know
how to get a rooster to tell the fortune on New Year’s Eve?
Animals play a
great variety of roles in our lives, providing food and clothing, transport,
and friendship. In the Christmas village of the Estonian Open Air Museum, you
can see and experience what animals gave to people through the ages and how
they were treated.
Faint choir singing can be heard from the chapel,
and the inn has become the centre of cosy fairgrounds while horse rides start
opposite the inn, where a carriage will be ready to pick up passengers.
Kolu inn – Christmas fair and performances
Around the inn,
you will find a small Christmas fair, where you can buy gifts of all sorts for
your loved ones.
Santa Claus is waiting for children to read poems.
Also, look out for the Yule goat who’ll be butting people for
good luck and demanding gifts in return.
Inn stable room
At 12.30 Folk
dancers from Ääsmäe and Varbola
At 13.30 Folk
dancers from Ääsmäe and Varbola
At 13.00 Concert “Christmas in the church and at home”
by ‘Viiulised’, the violine ensemble of attending Kanutiaia Extracurricular
School and Kaarli School’s music studio
At 14.00 Social dance troupe ‘Raudrohi’ from Rapla county
The chapel is filled with the lovely sound of choir
singing. Come by to listen!
At 11.00 Children’s choir studio ‘Ilus Hääl’
At 12.00 Chamber choir ‘Peeteli’
At 13.00 Women’s choir ‘Meelika’
At 14.00 ‘Skiberg’ choir (Norway)
At 15.00 Nõmme Folklore School
At 11.00 Choir of Tallinn English College PTA
(parents, teachers, alumni)
At 12.00 Vocal ensemble of Tallinn French Lyceum
At 13.00 Chamber choir of the Estonian Academy of Arts
At 14.00 Mixed choir of the Saaremaa Cultural Society
At 15.00 Christmas sermon
Härjapea farm –
‘Piparkook’ animals and toy animals
‘Piparkook’ cookies, the Estonian version of
gingerbread, became a tradition in the countryside in the 20th
century. The cookies were made with tin cookie cutters in the shape of hearts, stars,
or animals. The hostess on Härjapea farm will be making the cookies while you
can see a display of animal-shaped ‘piparkook’ cutters from the collection of
the Estonian Open Air Museum and Tallinn City Museum.
In the 1930s, hand-made toy animals were extremely
popular as Christmas gifts. In the living-room, you can see Christmas issues of
the magazine ‘Taluperenaine’ (Rural Housewife) with patterns and instructions.
You can take a copy with you and sew or crochet a toy at home.
Roosta farm – Animals as food and
winter dwellers. Christmas in the days of yore
The table laden with festive food and fresh clean straw on
the floor were a must at Christmas. You can see the table in the kiln room of
Roosta farm crowned with a pig’s head and the bread in the shape of a pig
traditionally baked for good luck. The farmer’s mother is stuffing sausage
casings with black pudding while the children are playing traditional Christmas
games: fishing for ruff, nut fox, and shoemaker. On the threshing-floor, you
can see the chickens and the rooster who have been moved inside from the cold,
and, by the way, the rooster can tell the fortune to unmarried girls!
Sauna on Roosta
farm – Animals as parasites. Fleas and lice and
everything ‘nice’. Heating the sauna
On the day before Christmas, the farm folk had to go to the
sauna early and get to the church in time. So, the cotter is already heating the smoke sauna.
The sauna was also considered to be the place for healing in
case of any pains or ailments and, of course, getting rid of annoying ‘pet
insects’. Our ancestors had to live side by side with fleas, bed bugs and other
critters, and these were a nuisance to drive out. The cotter’s wife will tell
you what home-made remedies were used for pest control.
Kolga farm – Animals in stories.
During the Christmas period, when working was forbidden,
people would spend their time telling stories. These fairy tales would often
feature birds and animals as main characters. In the chamber of the
barn-dwelling on Kolga farm, you can hear fairy tales about the fox, the wolf
and other forest dwellers.
Barn-shed building on Kolga farm –
what do animals give to people?
and material for clothing, farm animals were vital for rural households. Pigs
were reared for meat that would be used in sausages and roasted at Christmas.
Sheep gave wool for yarn and skin for warm fur coats; cow hide was used to make
shoes and boots, but cows gave milk before reaching that stage. Chickens and
geese provided eggs as well as feathers (for pillows). Horse and cattle manure
was valuable as a fertiliser. As farm animals were so valuable, they needed
good care and feeding. On Christmas Eve, farm animals would get bread and
In the barn-shed
building on Kolga farm, you can find the environmental protection exhibition
‘Every little step counts’. In the shed, you can meet the museum’s sheep,
rabbits, chickens, and geese as well as hear the
farm wife talk about feeding and rearing them.
The barn can be visited with the hostess on the full hours at 11, 12, 13, 14, and 15. The visitation time is up to 15 minutes, and the group size is up to 25 people.
Lau shop – animals on postcards. Christmas gifts
choice of goods in Lau shop has been expanded with animal-shaped sweets and
decorations. Do come by and get something to put in socks on the mantle or
under the Christmas tree. We also sell postcards which you can fill with good
wishes and send right in the shop. Ask the shop assistant for a stamp with
Nulli-Maie sauna on it and leave you postcard in the mailbox!
living-room, you will find some 1930’s postcards that you can colour any way
Kuie school – animals in the Bible. The birth of Baby Jesus
celebrated by the world’s Christians as the birth of Jesus Christ. The Bible
tells the story of Christ being born in a barn among animals. A nativity scene
will be performed in the classroom as a shadow theatre play. Have you noticed
what animals it shows?
performances start at 12.15, 13.15, 14.15 and 15.15. Between the shows,
visitors can make a puppet and use it for their theatre performances at home.
Kolkhoz apartment building – “The
God’s menagerie is plentiful!”
This phrase is used to describe a group of very different
people from all walks of life. And the Kolkhoz apartment building fits the
description! The whole house is filled with festive smells, flavours, and
In the 1978 apartment, Laine is making aspic from pork knuckles.
When people are compared to animals, isn’t it an offence to
the animal at times? The family in the 1993
apartment has no jobs or stable income after the kolkhoz was dismissed. They have no will to do
anything and are not in a festive mood, drowning their worries in vodka. Raimo
and his friend are attempting to make the world better, and the exhausted
hostess is trying to put at least something on the table at Christmas despite
their difficult circumstances.
In the 2019 apartment, Almasi the dog is celebrating Christmas with his
humans. He is the youngest ‘baby’ here and gets all the attention in the form
of gifts and cuddles. The hostesses’ sister and her new boyfriend are coming over. Will the Christmas
dinner meet the expectations?
When you get a pet, please remember that it becomes your
responsibility and is in your care. What happens if the pet’s original owners
have lost interest and don’t want to care about the dog or cat any longer?
the basement of the Kolkhoz apartment building, you can see Peeter Tooming’s
film ‘City stray’ produced in 1981. We’ll also have visitors from Tallinn
Animal Shelter introducing its dwellers and explaining how you can help them.
Donations as Christmas gifts to the shelter are welcome!
The shed has become an
improvised slaughterhouse where a pig is being slaughtered so that there’s pork
on the table at Christmas.
Sepa farm – Animal as the national
property. Living history
farms were set up in Estonia in the 1940s, thousands of buildings, farm tools,
animals and crops were nationalised and taken from farms. It’s December of
1949, the years after the Soviet deportation of Estonians, and the family on
Sepa farm who has recently joined the kolkhoz is barely making ends meet. The
farm gets a visit from the kolkhoz official who is here to inspect the property
and write everything down.
The Russian House
from Peipus is also open, housing the museum’s goats and rabbits during the
winter, and you can find our famous Vasso the cat on Setu farm.
The museum at Christmas is a perfect location to enjoy a
winter horse ride. Depending on the weather, you can ride a sleigh or a
carriage. The stop is located opposite the inn, and tickets can be bought from
On Sunday, December 17th, at 14:30, a horse will transport elderly visitors for free from the main entrance to the chapel, just like in the old times when people used to ride to church.
Sponsors and partners: A Le Coq, Maks & Moorits, Tallinna loomade varjupaik, Tallinna Linnamuuseum
HOW TO FIND US?
By car: free parking at the parking lot at the main entrance of the museum or at the rear entrance parking lot (about 1 km from the main entrance in the direction of Kakumäe).
By public transport: buses No. 21 and 21B will bring you to the main entrance of the museum (bus stop Rocca al Mare) or to the rear gate closer to the event location (bus stop Õismäe raba). Buses No. 41 and 41b will get you from the museum to the city centre.
NB! Organisers retain the right to make changes in the