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How To Have An Estonian Christmas At Home

December 15, 2020
Don't underestimate the Estonians! You'd be surprised by how they do stuff, especially at celebrating Christmas. It's pretty fair to say that the way to observe their holiday season is second to none. Their celebrations are a lot deeper, more solemn, yet just as sweet and lively as any other. You won't find that kind of combination just anywhere! And if you have plans to go to Estonia for the holidays but had to cancel it because of the Covid-19 pandemic, don't you fret! You can still experience an authentic Estonian Christmas at home by following these traditions.
How To Have An Estonian Christmas At Home


Christmas is More Religious than Commercialized

One thing you ought to know first about the way Estonians celebrate Christmas is that they hold it to such high religious regard. For them, it's all about the birth of Christ. That's the main point of their traditional celebrations and whatnot. So here in the country, you won't expect a lot of merriment around, even in the livelier neighborhoods of Tallinn, the capital city of the country, until it's very near Christmas Day. While other countries start releasing Christmas-related commercials, playing Christmas carols on the radio, and the likes, here in Estonia, it's all about Christmas Day itself!
How To Have An Estonian Christmas At Home
Source: Wikimedia Commons


Christmas Day is on the 24th Here

Another very unique way that Estonians celebrate Christmas is that, for them, Christmas day is on December 24th, not the 25th. And no, this isn't like in other countries wherein the Christmas celebrations start—or at times, are only held—on Christmas Eve. Here in Estonia, Christmas Day, thus all Christmas celebrations are done, on the 24th. This is when families gather and put on a big feast, kids sing Christmas carols, people open their presents, and more. Meanwhile, on the 25th, the day most of the world regards as Christmas Day, it's practically back to normal life in Estonia.
How To Have An Estonian Christmas At Home
Source: Wikimedia Commons


Kids Sing Christmas Carols Before Opening Presents

What you will see most Estonians do on Christmas Day that other countries also do is sing Christmas carols. In fact, most kids are required to do that. While in the rest of the world, singing Christmas carol is more of a fun tradition that others who don't want to do it don't have to, here in Estonia, kids are practically required to sing their hearts out. The tradition goes that, after the Christmas feast, kids have to sing Christmas carols before they can open their presents. The little ones even prepare what they sing and rehearse them before the big day!
How To Have An Estonian Christmas At Home
Source: PBS.org/ Steven Depolo


An Estonian Feast on Christmas Day

Of course, no Christmas, no matter what country you're in, isn't complete without a feast! And while the food here isn't as grandiose as those in other countries, the dishes will still fill your stomach up nonetheless. Don't expect a big turkey or some juiced up yams to be served on an Estonian Christmas. That's not how they do it here. Instead, you'd find sauerkraut (raw cabbage), roast pork, pumpkin salad, Estonian cheese, and the like. It's safe to say that the Estonian holiday menu is lighter than most, but that doesn't mean you won't get your fill on this feast!
How To Have An Estonian Christmas At Home
Source: Wikimedia Commons


No Alcohol During The Christmas Feast

It's pretty reasonable for you to expect to drink during Christmas. In many cultures, such as in France, champagne is practically the main beverage for the whole celebration. Meanwhile, in Italy, wine should never be absent from the Christmas dinner table. And while that's all well and good, here in Estonia, you won't find a single liquor bottle on any holiday table anywhere! The most alcohol one will drink here during Christmas is the wine served during midnight mass. But during the Christmas feast? It's juice, soda, and water all the way! You can still have some milk, tea, and other warm beverages as well!
How To Have An Estonian Christmas At Home
Source: Wikimedia Commons


Drinking Coffee Afterwards

Of course, since you might want to warm your stomach up after a hearty Christmas feast, you'd prefer to have coffee, right? Drinking coffee right after the Christmas feast has become so common in Estonia that it's become its own holiday tradition. More often than not, as families serve the various Estonian dishes for the holiday, they're also preparing a warm pot of coffee to serve afterward. While in other countries like France, the UK, and more would prefer hot chocolate, coffee is the way to go with the Estonians. It has the right balance of strength and sweetness to really calm the body down.
How To Have An Estonian Christmas At Home
Source: Wikimedia Commons

If you still plan to have an Estonian Christmas even though you can travel to the European country right now, don't you fret! You can just as easily do their many holiday traditions at home with your family, wherever you may be!

If you're already in Estonia yet you don't have a place for the holidays yet, try going for a luxury rental! They're the best ways to go!




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