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Midsummer's Eve 

Adult fee 20 €
Discount fee 15 €
Family fee 40 €

Special ticket prices starting from 16.00. 

Midsummer. Hello, dear sauna, hello, dear steam room!

23 June 2023 from 19:00 to 00:00 

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For Estonians, Midsummer Eve is one of the festivals most abundant in traditions. In addition to magnificent bonfires, lively music, tireless dancing, and creaking village swing, another inseparable element of Midsummer celebrations has always been the sauna fragrant with the smell of fresh birch whisks.

The year 2023 has been declared the Year of the Sauna, so the Open Air Museum is honouring the country’s sauna legacy and introducing the role of the sauna in Estonian people’s lives from cradle to grave.

Come to the museum to explore how sauna stoves are heated, take part in folk games, and put your strength to the test, listen to fairy tales, look at the bonfires and enjoy the most romantic sunset in Tallinn.

The list of performers includes such bands as ‘Väikeste Lõõtspillide Ühing’ (Estonian ‘Association of Small Accordions’), ‘Leigarid’ and many others.



Main gate  

19:00 Procession to light Midsummer bonfires 

The procession to light Midsummer bonfires starts at the main gate at 19:00. Bonfires will be lit in the Village Square and Swing Square.


Swing Square – Midsummer bonfire and the band ‘Väikeste Lõõtspillide Ühing’ 

At 19:15: welcome speeches

At 19:20: lighting the Midsummer bonfire

At 20:00: folklore club ‘Maatasa’

At 21:00, 22:00, 23:00: Väikeste Lõõtspillide Ühing

At 23:45: the meeting of Dawn and Twilight


Village Square – 19th century village Midsummer bonfire

Entertainment programme from 19:45 to 23:00 

At 19:45: lighting the Midsummer bonfire 

Locals and guests from farther afield have gathered in the Village Square to celebrate Midsummer. The folklore society ‘Leigarid’ will be keeping old customs alive, dancing and singing around the bonfire and organizing fun crowd games.


Events on farms from 19:00 to 23:00 


Köstriaseme farm – sauna in the kiln room

It was entirely normal a hundred years ago to use the same room (the kiln room) as living quarters, a storage space for drying wheat, and a sauna where people would bathe and use sauna whisks. The open kiln typical of Northern and Western Estonia was perfect for sauna bathing.

The farmer’s family have all cleaned up in the kiln room sauna and have rushed off to the bonfire. The old farmwife has remained at home next to the warm kiln, and she can tell you how to turn the kiln room into a sauna.


Pulga fam – sauna in fairy tales and rituals

For our ancestors, the sauna was a sacred place, which was treated with great respect. Going to the sauna was considered a ritual of sorts and entailed a number of customs and superstitions. Even some old fairy tales feature the sauna as one of the main plot components.  

The sauna on Pulga farm has been heated, and the bathers have a lot of tales to tell: about an orphan who went to the sauna, about an ox and a wolf in the sauna, and about the custom of whisking girls old enough to be looking for a husband with a fox’s tail.


The threshing floor is where you can see an exhibition about wedding customs in Northern Estonia while the yard in front of the barn dwelling is a perfect place to play the ‘horse game’ and test how strong you are in mas wrestling.


Härjapea farm – household hygiene in Estonia in the 1930s

Hygiene and cleanliness became more and more important in the 1920s–1930s, but old habits were hard to break.

The hostess of Härjapea farm is teaching the neighbour how to clean her home using simple tools and detergents and listens to fascinating radio shows about the sanitary conditions in towns on the radio.


Nulli-Maie sauna – life and death in the sauna

Saunas on farm grounds were often dwellings for the poorest peasants who earned their bread as day labourers in larger households. The living quarters were cramped and had to be vacated when the farmer’s family needed to use the sauna.

Disaster struck the family of poor Nulli-Maie cotters just before Midsummer. Their breadwinner passed away before the busy haymaking season. This time, the sauna stays cold because the overnight vigil over the deceased is held there.



Roosta farm – sauna and health

When one fell ill, the sauna was the first-choice remedy. It was used for treating colds and joint aches, skin conditions and children’s diseases, and it was where the village wiseman (or woman) administered the ancient Estonian massage treatment or cupping.

Whisking was considered to be especially good for one’s health. Sauna whisks would be made of various tree species, each twig had special powers, and there were rules on how to use different types of whisks. The best time to make sauna whisks was before Midsummer or on Midsummer Eve.

In front of the sauna, the farmer will teach you how to make birch whisks, and the village wisewoman can tell you what plants acquire special powers on Midsummer Eve.


At 19:40, 20:20, 20:50, 21:50, and 22:20 you can listen to the Estonian archaic men’s chorale choir ‘Lüü-Türr’ perform in the farmyard.  

Alar Krautman, who demonstrates cupping therapy, is also visiting from the Health Academy. Short lectures on sauna traditions will take place at 8:00 PM and 9:30 PM.


Jüri-Jaagu farm – sauna and festive clothing. Games of the old days

People would always go to the sauna on the eve of important events, when they had to wear their best clothes, be it a trip to the church, Midsummer celebration, or a wedding.

On Jüri-Jaagu farm, the ritual of whisking the young bride in the sauna before she leaves for the groom’s home has been completed, and the older woman representing the bride’s mother for the wedding checks that the girl is dressed appropriately. In front of the barn, the bride’s sister is teaching villagers how to make the ribbons that go on the instruments of the wedding music band.

The area in front of the barn dwelling is for competing in strength and skill: tug of war, crawling under the shaft bow, sack racing and other games village folks used to play.


Sauna on Jüri-Jaagu talu farm – sauna and beverages

The sauna would always be accompanied with refreshing kvass and beer. The owner of Jüri-Jaagu farm is heating the sauna and brewing genuine islanders’ beer to refresh workers on busy hot haymaking days.


Kuie school – Estonians’ love of cleanliness

In the classroom, you can see a slide sequence showing the history of saunas, toilets and laundry washing in Estonia, and there is a small exhibition of 20th century pocket squares and underwear.


Sepa farm – sauna and giving birth. Fortune-telling

Families had many children in the old times, so the birth of a child was not a very special event. When the woman was due to give birth to a new baby, the husband or even the mother-to-be would heat the sauna. The sauna was the sheltered place where the woman would give birth, alone or with the midwife’s help.

The young wife on Sepa farm is crying in the sauna because of last year’s joy, and the baby’s first cries are expected any minute.

In the house, the old crone of Sepa farm is telling the baby’s fortune, but she has enough time to tell villagers about their future romantic partners or next year’s luck.


Sauna in the Kolkhoz apartment building – sauna as a party den

The role of the sauna changed over time. While it was a sacred place in the old times, and you were not allowed to raise your voice or utter a bad word there, it became a common party venue in Soviet times, accompanied with loud pop music, drinks, shashlik and smoked fish.

Behind the Kolkhoz apartment building, it is the year 1993, and the dwellers are celebrating Midsummer next to the sauna. The latest hits are blaring from the cassette player, and there is plenty of fun and laughter, dancing, and flirting.


Delicious food on Midsummer Eve is provided by Kolu inn, Food Academy, Saarte summer café and shop as well as our partners on the Swing Grounds and in front of the sauna on Jüri-Jaagu farm.


Hiiumaa itinerant fishing house – sauna and stove coals

When the sauna stove has cooled down, the remaining coals can be used for drawing! Draw the picturesque sea view in coal and enjoy delicious cakes, pastries, and drinks at Saarte summer café.

Waste-Free Event  –  At the event, we will be using Ringo reusable dishes and kindly ask attendees to dispose of their dishes in the yellow Ringo trash bins.


Partners and sponsors: Cultural Endowment of Estonia, A Le Coq, Alar Krautman Health Academy,  Haabersti Linnaosa Valitsus.

Northern Estonia
Western Estonia
Southern Estonia