23 June 2022 from 19.00 to 00.00
Midsummer eve, is the time of magic and mystery. This is when our folk stories
about the ‘Old Devil’ known as Vanapagan, about a cauldron of coins and the
fern flower are usually set. Over time,
the stories were collected and written down in books. This year is the Year of
Libraries in Estonia, and the Open Air Museum is joining the celebrations by
focusing its Midsummer events on literature, books and stories. While you
explore the museum grounds, you might find yourself celebrating the Year of
Estonian Books in 1935 or the 100th anniversary of the birth of A.
H. Tammsaare. You can also listen to the stories turned into songs and
performed by the Kukerpillid ensemble or enjoy the performance of the
Estonian folk music group Leigarid, which is there to create the
authentic rural Midsummer eve atmosphere for you.
In addition, there will be
plenty of fun for everyone: making wreaths or a magical household helper called
kratt, playing children’s games, having a look at what’s inside the
sauna, having your future told, listening to fairy tales, or learning how to
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.
They say once there is a song
about you, you will stay in it forever. So, in a way, we can regard songs as
books that preserve tales and stories for future generations. This is exactly
the type of songs performed by everyone’s favourite, the Kukerpillid ensemble,
which is celebrating 50 years of singing since it was founded this year.
Come to the Swing Square to enjoy
the bonfire, folk dancing, and music by Kukerpillid!
At 20.00 and 21.45: folk dance group Viikingid (Norway)
At 21.00, 22.00, 23.00: Kukerpillid
At 23.45 The meeting of Dawn
Village Square – village
In the 19th
century, the Midsummer bonfire was the gathering place for people from all the
neighbouring farms, who would spend Midsummer eve dancing, singing, and playing
games. Young people were the ones to have the most fun, but the old would also
gather to sit by the fire. Physical education and folk dancing teacher Anna
Raudkats collected folk games and dances, publishing them in her book ‘Estonian
folk dances’ in 1926 and writing a number of game anthologies between 1924 and
We need to thank Raudkats for us
being able to enjoy folk dancing and games today. The performance of the
singers, dancers, and musicians of the Estonian folk music group Leigarid will
certainly create the authentic atmosphere of Midsummer eve in the countryside.
Kolkhoz apartment building–
1978, Tammsaare 100
In 1978, it is the 100th
anniversary of the birth of A. H. Tammsaare, a classic of Estonian
literature. To celebrate the occasion,
the kolkhoz is holding a poetry and writing contest, and its best submissions
will be performed at the kolkhoz Midsummer celebration. The residents of the
Sookuru apartment building are having their own Midsummer party, performing
sketches, strongman tricks and gymnastics, marvelling at the neighbour’s new
car and dancing to the music by the village chapel choir.
At 20.00 and 22.00: chapel choir Möllav Meri.
If you are hungry, masters of shashlik will be at you service, and
draught kvass will be available.
Kuie school – 1935, the Year
of Estonian Books
In 1935, it is 400 years since
Wanradt-Koell Catechism, the first book in Estonian, was published. The Year of Estonian Books features a number
of events, including a writer’s presentation of his first book in the school
building. To celebrate the occasion, the local library society has staged a
play titled ‘Vaikus lärmitseb’ (Silence makes noise) and invited local
musicians to play at the event.
Events on our farms
Jüri-Jaagu farm – making
wreaths and going to the sauna
To prepare for the
celebration, one has to have a thorough wash and wear something nice. Folk
wisdom says you are supposed to be done with your sauna before the sun sets,
and no evil or misfortune will be able to touch you. Wildflowers picked during
the day would be used for various purposes: making a wreath, placing under your
pillow, or using nine kinds of flowers in your sauna whisks to tell the future.
The dwellers of Jüri-Jaagu farm
will be busy preparing for Midsummer eve: girls will be making wreaths, and the
farm hand will be making sauna whisks and heating the sauna.
Roosta farm – folk tales and
Before writing systems were
invented, wisdom was passed from generation to generation through oral
tradition in tales and songs. People would sing as they worked, cutting crops
or herding cattle, and at leisure or during important life events. Songs
accompanied swinging and games, weddings, and funerals.
The womenfolk of the farm will
gather in the chamber to tell fairy tales about a cauldron of coins, about the
fern flower and other mystical things. Music and old Midsummer songs can be
heard in between the stories. Storytelling sessions start at 19.15, 19.45,
20.15, 20.45, 21.15 and 21.45.
Kolga farm – fortune-telling
and shepherd games
Midsummer eve is the time of
magic, proper time for fortune-telling and all kinds of witchcraft. Go to the
sauna on Kolga farm, where the farmwife’s sister will tell you what awaits
In the yard, you can see
shepherd boys playing games and try these yourself: walking on stilts, passing
under a low bar or ‘lifting a bag of salt’.
Sepa farm – churning butter
Starting at Easter, dairy
products would remain on the table throughout spring and would be served at
Midsummer next to the bonfire, after milk was carefully gathered over the week
before. It is believed that cows give the tastiest milk around this time.
Cream can be skimmed from milk
and turned into butter. You can see how butter is churned on Sepa farm.
Härjapea farm – cooking with
The smell of something sweet
is flowing from the kitchen – the farmwife is baking traditional curd cheese
patties, using a recipe from the latest issue of Taluperenaine magazine.
Köstriaseme talu – making a kratt
In Estonian folklore, a kratt
is a magical being, a household helper whose main function is to bring things
home to its master. But you should be very careful when making a kratt
and bringing it to life, or you might end up in the same predicament as master
Hans, the main character of a book by Andrus Kivirähk. The farmwife on Köstriaseme
farm will teach you how to make a proper kratt for your household.
Sassi-Jaani farm, Pulga farm,
Setu farm and the Russian house from Peipus will also be open. All the farms on
the museum grounds are open until 22.30.
Make sure to come by Kolu Inn
and Lau shop