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16.12.23 - 17.12.23

Christmas village “Animals in our lives” 

Adult 10 €
Discount 8 €
Family 18 €

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.

Christmas Village e-tickets are on sale here.


  • 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.

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

Saturday, 16 December

At 12.30 Folk dancers from Ääsmäe and Varbola

At 13.30 Folk dancers from Ääsmäe and Varbola


Sunday, 17 December

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


Sutlepa chapel

The chapel is filled with the lovely sound of choir singing. Come by to listen!


Saturday, 16 December

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


Sunday, 17 December

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 of Tallinn

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.

To find the cutouts for crafting little animals, click here!


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. Fairy tales

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?

Providing food 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 festive greetings.

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

The varied 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!

In the living-room, you will find some 1930’s postcards that you can colour any way you like.

Kuie school – animals in the Bible. The birth of Baby Jesus

Christmas is 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?

Shadow theatre 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 genuine experiences.

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? 

In 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

When kolkhoz 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.

Horse rides

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 the driver. 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

NB! Organisers retain the right to make changes in the programme.

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