I don’t know about you, but for me it seems like it was yesterday when I put up the Christmas decorations, when in fact, it’s already almost Easter in Estonia. Time flies!
In this post, I’ll share a couple of things I know about how to celebrate Easter in Estonia, so keep reading if you want to be prepared for this holiday!
About Easter in Estonia
This year, Easter in Estonia is celebrated from Friday, 30 March to Sunday, 1 April. Good Friday (30 March) and Easter Sunday (April 1) are public holidays in Estonia. However, unlike in other countries, Easter Monday is a regular working day in Estonia.
For Easter, Christians commemorate the crucifixion and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus and so do Estonians. However, even though they accept it as a religious holiday, they choose to focus on celebrating the beginning of spring, instead.
In Estonian, Easter is referred to in different ways:
- “Ületõusmispüha” which means “Resurrection”
- “Lihavõtted”, which means “Meat-taking holiday” and marks the end of Lent
- “Munadepüha”, which means “Egg holiday”
- “Kiigepühad”, which means “Swing holiday” and refers to swinging on the large wooden village swing on Easter Sunday
Estonian Easter Foods
The Easter table is filled with delicious foods, of course. For this holiday, Estonians prepare meat, dishes made with eggs, pasha and various salads. But, most importantly, they will colour hard-boiled eggs. Nowadays, you can get the eggs ready-made from the store, choose to buy dye and colour them yourself or go the traditional way and colour them using the skins of onions, beets, turmeric or purple cabbage.
According to the Estonian folk calendar, the colours of the Easter eggs have a special meaning:
- Pink – Gentle
- Green – Hope
- Blue – Fidelity
- Yellow – Falsehood
- Grey – Balance
In the old times, the girls offered the boys to choose from a basket full of coloured eggs. They will then label their personality type based on the chosen colour and its meaning.
The general theme is very fresh, combining bright colours such as yellow, green, orange and blue.
As on Easter Sunday Estonians also celebrate the beginning of spring, they choose to decorate their homes with willow branches – they symbol of health, success and happiness.
The week before Easter is dedicated to house chores: everyone spends time on properly cleaning their homes after a long winter. Traditionally, the weather during this week is an indicator of the weather for the upcoming summer. If this week is rainy, then a wet summer is expected, while if there is fog, a hot summer will follow. *praying for fog next week*
“Munade koksimine” is probably the biggest Easter activity in Estonia. As I mentioned earlier, for this day, Estonians prepare coloured hard-boiled eggs. Munade koksimine is an egg competition, where each participant chooses a hard-boiled egg. One pair at a time, they hit the eggs together. The one who has the “surviver egg” pairs up with somebody else and the game goes on until there’s one winner of the egg competition. It’s an entertaining and fun Easter activity for kids and adults alike.
The Easter bunny is a known character to children in Estonia. He comes to each home and hides various sweets or small gifts. The children go on a hunt around the house to find out what the Easter bunny brought them.
Estonian Easter Tip #1: The Estonian Open Air Museum organised a series of events to celebrate Easter in Estonia this year. If you’re in Tallinn on April 1, you should definitely give it a try!
Estonian Easter Tip #2: According to an old belief, the Easter sunrise is the most beautiful in the world. On this special morning the sun plays and the sky dances. Are you ready to wake up early on Sunday and watch the sunrise?