With songs, games, presents, and tables laden with good things, the Christmas season is a beautiful time! In the Christmas Village at the Estonian Open Air Museum, you can explore the Christmas traditions of our ancestors and certainly learn a lot. How many meals were there on Christmas Eve, and what games did people play? Why is a sauna around Christmas so special? What did fortune-telling for the upcoming year look like?
In addition, you can have a look at our recent past in the Kolkhoz apartment building to see what changed in winter festivities over time. Why was Christmas not celebrated in the Soviet period? What did people eat and drink? When would little elves start visiting children?
Faint choir singing can be heard from the chapel, and the inn has become the centre of busy fairgrounds. You can buy a pretty gingerbread cookie or piece of handicraft to add to your gift bag, take a selfie next to the Christmas tree or give a high five to Santa.
Hää Äri shop
Make a beautiful Christmas wreath of pine twigs, a moss ball or another decoration using natural materials, and the Florist School will teach you how! The workshop is also where you can buy gingerbread, apple pie and a hot drink.
Around the inn
Christmas Fair from 11.00 to 15.00
The Christmas Fair is where you can buy handicraft gifts made by Estonian tradespeople, gingerbread cookies made by Kolu Inn’s special secret recipe and a hot drink. Take a selfie next to the Christmas tree and have fun trying to hit the bullseye with a snowball!
Inn stable room
Urmas Veersalu will be teaching visitors how to make traditional Christmas decorations from reeds. Santa visits at 12.00, 13.00, 14.00 and 15.00.
Pulga farm barn-dwelling
As you enter the barn-dwelling on Pulga farm, you will be taken several centuries back in time. You will see the table laden with Christmas dishes in accordance with our ancestors’ traditions, the rooms cleaned and scrubbed for the occasion and fresh straw on the floor. The women of the family will be talking about the Christmas food of old times, and kids will be able to play Christmas games.
On the threshing floor, you will find the enchanting exhibition “Estonian Reed Crowns: Traditions and Visions” prepared by Urmas Veersalu and the Estonian Reed Craft Society.
Pulga farm sauna
There was a tradition of going to the sauna on Christmas Eve to cleanse the body and soul before the feast days. Christmas sauna was believed to make the entire family healthy and happy.
Pulga farm smithy
The blacksmith has a lot of work at the end of the year. Villagers want to know what the new year will bring, and the smithy is where you can do some fortune-telling with molten lead under his guidance.
The chapel is filled with the sound of the Christmas gospel.
Saturday, 18 December
11.00 Children’s choir studio ‘Ilus Hääl’
12.00 Mixed choir of the Estonian Open Air Museum
13.00 Tallinn French Lyceum
14.00 NUKU choir
15 Nõmme School of Traditional Music
Sunday, 19 December
11.00 ‘Meero Muusik’ hobby school
12.00 Women’s choir ‘Meelika’
12.30 Women’s chamber choir ‘Lu’
13.00 Chamber choir of the Estonian Academy of Arts
14.00 Mixed quire of the Saaremaa Cultural Society of Tallinn
15.00 Christmas sermon
Lau village shop
Lau shop welcomes everyone with festive lights and decorations. Here’s where you can something beautiful to look at, something to lift your mood and something useful: things to suit any gift bag. And our Christmas Post Office will also be open!
Kolkhoz apartment building
The Kolkhoz apartment building is filled with familiar smells! Some are getting ready for the New Year celebration, other prepare for Christmas Eve, but festive foods have remained the same for decades. In the Soviet period, Estonians would still make pork jelly, cook blood sausage with sauerkraut and bake ‘piparkook’ gingerbread cookies. These are still our favourite Christmas dishes!
All the dwellers are ready to celebrate, and the fir trees are alight with golden decorations and tinsel. Come buy to make your own Christmas decorations!
To warm up and have a meal, make sure to visit the tent of the Food Academy.
Horse rides available
In old times, people would ride a sled to go to church in Christmas season. You, too, can ride a sledge or carriage at the museum (depending on the weather). Tickets are available from the driver.
Setosare lucky because they get to celebrate Christmas twice. Until 2014, they followed the ‘Old’ Julian calendar for church holy days, and Christmas eve was on 6 January, but then it was decided Christmas would be celebrated in December at the same time with Catholics and Lutherans. But this does not mean the old ways have been forgotten. The festival is still celebrated in January as well.
You can see how Setos prepared for Christmas and what foods they made in the new dwelling of Setu farm.
Russian house from Peipus
As Catholics and Lutherans celebrate Christmas, Russian Old Believers still hold the Nativity Fast and do not eat animal products. One must also abstain from entertainment and any noisy work or activities. It is a challenge for the farm wife to figure out what to cook during the fast for the whole family to get energy and vitamins without meat or dairy.
In Pechonkin’s house from Peipus, you can see how ‘fake coffee’ was made from chicory and how to cook a delicious mushroom and onion salad.
Sponsors and partners: Estonian Florist School, Urmas Veersalu
A person wishing to participate in the event must prove their own COVID certificate at the museum ticket office.