Halloween in Estonia? This might disappoint some of you, but actually it’s not an incredibly popular event. Halloween in Estonia is mainly recognised as an American holiday and frankly, it’s more of a commercial event, in my opinion, designed to help shops sell all sorts of merchandise related to this day.
What is Halloween?
I guess there’s no need for a massive introduction of Halloween. However, it’s noteworthy to state that this holiday, which takes place on October 31, is also known as “All Saints’ Eve” or “All Hallows’ Eve”. This time is dedicated to remembering the dead, martyrs and saints. Halloween activities include trick-or-treating, costume parties, playing pranks, visiting haunted attractions, telling scary stories or watching horror films.
This holiday is very popular worldwide and many countries celebrate it intensely. But what do Estonians do for Halloween?
Halloween in Estonia
You can probably find various Halloween-related activities in the city centre, as well as in many bars, pubs and restaurants, which display spooky themes throughout this period for the visitors’ entertainment. “House of Dracula: Pidu & Elusfilm” is one such event, which will take place in Telliskivi, on October 27 at 21:00. At around 22:00, the movie Dracula, based on Bram Stoker’s novel, will come alive, and all guests will have a role to play. The dress code is also based on the movie — a festive 1897 style or embodiment of evil.
But is this all there is to it? Definitely not. Estonians celebrate their “own Halloween” on a different day. This day is called Mardipäev and it is quite well-known as the “Estonian Halloween”.
Mardipäev: The Estonian Halloween
Mardipäev has Christian origins and in the old times it happened on November 11, celebrating St. Martin. The most popular legend says that this saint once cut his cloak into half and shared it with a beggar who was freezing in the snow.
Nowadays, Mardipäev is associated with Martin Luther’s birthday and is celebrated on November 10. As they used to do in the past, children still go from door to door (similar to trick-or-treating) to sing the special song of St. Martin. They are welcome inside, where they say poems or dance and receive rewards from the hosts. If back then, they got salads, cabbage, fruits and other foods as such, today they mainly receive sweets – probably an influence of Halloween.
One interesting thing is that the last child who leaves the house wishes the hosts luck, money and health, by throwing a bunch of rise inside on his or her way out. Lots of cleaning to do after Mardipäev, hey?
Lastly, Estonia has some really spooky stories, who would scare even some of the most conservative minds. Check out this article, titled “Who Needs Halloween? Estonia Has Real Ghosts” if you’re up for the thrill.