In the Estonian folk calendar Easter is celebrated not only as a great church holiday but also as a spring holiday to welcome the arrival of the lighter and warmer season. And although chocolate eggs and bright-coloured feathers have found their way into Estonian family traditions, many of the old customs are being kept alive, too.
The Estonian Open Air Museum – the largest museum in Estonia – organises a traditional “Easter and spring fair”. Come and ride the traditional “village swings”, try making your own willow whistles and enjoy the traditional farm food experience in the museum tavern. Concerts, activities for children and plenty of competitions and handicrafts await you!
Several church concerts are taking place during Easter.
Eggs, spring and life are the universal symbol of Easter in the world. If you have a chance, visit an Estonian home: as it is usually still quite cold outside, many Estonians have found a solution by growing grass in pots on their windowsills and using it as the table decoration for Easter dinner.
One thing you are sure to witness is the “egg knocking” competition. Traditionally, eggs are painted/coloured by boiling them wrapped in the dry outer skin of onions. At least once during the Easter celebration, family and friends are invited to join a competition: each has an egg and whoever breaks the shell of the competitor’s egg without cracking his, will be declared the winner and can claim the loser’s egg.
Be sure to try our traditional Easter food – greatly influenced by Russian cuisine. Cottage cheese and dairy based food as well as sweet white bread buns have a starring role. “Pasha” is the most common dessert: made of drained cottage cheese and later enriched with raisins, nuts, candied peel or compote berries, it is a sweet and savoury treat for people of all ages.
Raisin, nut and chocolate sweets also make a nice souvenir to take home from Estonia.