How much do you really know about Estonia? Are you aware of its culture? Its heritage? The answer, most probably, is no, right? It is, after all, one of the more underrated countries in Europe. A lot of people around the world are more familiar with the culture of France, the way of life in Italy, or how the British live in the UK. But Estonia? Still a mystery to many. Going there yourself is only half the work, you might want to visit the country during its many holidays. It's here where you'll really get a good sense of what Estonia is all about.
Independence Day (February 24)
One of the first Estonian holidays of the year is Independence Day. While the US
has the 4th of July and France
has Bastille Day, Estonia has its own Independence Day every February 24. Also known as 'National Day,' it was instituted back in 1918 when the country gained full independence. Like many other counties. Estonians observe and celebrate this holiday by showing off their patriotism. Among many others, they don their national attire, perform traditional dances, eat their signature Estonian dishes, and more. It's a big celebration that shows the true identity of Estonia to the world.
May Day (May 1)
Just like in the UK
, Estonia also holds May 1st as a holiday. Though it also observes Labor Day too, for a lot in the country, they see the first day of May as 'Spring Day.' Marking one of the first days of the new season, Estonia celebrates it with a big Spring Festival, full of games, rides, food, fun, and more. You'll see most families spend the day outside, basking in the glorious sunny mornings full of spring breezes brushing through people's faces. It's without a doubt one of the happier holidays on this list.
Victory Day (June 23)
Though it's not exactly their Independence Day, the spirit of this holiday remains the same. Every June 23, Estonia celebrates its Victory Day, commemorating the victory in their historic Battle of Võnnu in 1919. This victory was instrumental in the Estonian War of Independence against Germany. It was a vital moment in the country's fight for sole sovereignty within their territory. And because of this victory, the country came closer to achieving that goal. So today, the holiday pays tribute to the historic battle that helped make Estonia the free and beautiful country that it is today.
Jaaniõhtu (June 23-24)
The name of the Jaaniõhtu holiday isn't the only thing unique about it. One might argue that more than a 'holiday,' it's more like a holy night. As well as one of Estonia's very few unique religious holidays. Jaaniõhtu actually refers to the eve of the feast day of St. John the Baptist. It commemorates the arrival of Christianity to Estonia back in the 16th-century. And since then Estonia has become one of the most significant Christian counties in Eastern Europe. Moreover, since it's held a few days after the summer solstice, it also marks a change in the farming season at this time of the year.
Restoration Independence Day (August 20)
After the Second World War, Estonia became part of a number of countries that formed the Soviet Union. Under Russian Communist control, the nation did not have its own independence from the Eastern superpower. However, once the 'Iron Curtain' fell in 1991, Estonia restored its full independence once again. And so, every August 20, the country celebrates the 'Restoration of Independence' day. Just like its standard Independence Day, the country celebrates it by showing off their patriotism, remind people of this generation and the next just how hard the country has had to fight for its right for sole sovereignty.
Boxing Day (December 26)
While Christmas is still one of the most important holidays in Estonia, the day right after, known as 'Boxing Day' is a lot more unique. Similar to its British and Irish counterparts, this day after Christmas serves as an extra holiday after what is perhaps the most popular holiday in the world. The country knows that after the excitement in advent and the festivities of Christmas that the people wouldn't just let go of all the merriment and simply get things back to normal. They have to ease into it. And so 'Boxing Day' is somewhat of a rest day for people as they prepare to kiss the Christmas season goodbye.
You might not know a lot about Estonia and its people, but the moment you spend and celebrate one of their holidays in the country, you'll get a good glimpse of what they're all about! Don't miss getting to know more about this fascinating and underrated nation!
If you didn't know yet, Estonia has a lot of great luxury homes you can rent while you're there! They'd work well for you to celebrate any of these holidays in the country!