Advent and Christmas time in Estonia is full of holiday spirit and traditions. This year is no different, at least at people’s heart. The cities have put up effort to bring Christmas joy to the locals and their visitors. Christmas markets are not cancelled but take place on a smaller scale and with all precautions in place. Challenging times have made organizers to be more creative than ever. For example, in Estonian capital Tallinn, within the framework of the project “Living Windows,” Viru Street will come to life – Estonian professional musicians and dancers perform on weekends some hour-long matinees on the empty shop windows for free. The second largest city Tartu has opened a new, nearly 1000-square-metre ice rink on the Town Hall. Also, this activity is free for people.
A fairy-tale Christmas in Tallinn. A time full of Christmas spirit and thrilling discoveries
During the darkest time of the year, Tallinn becomes a true Christmas wonderland: gorgeous Christmas trees are placed on the squares; streets and parks are decorated with Christmas lights and there's a joyful feeling of anticipation in the air – be it because of Christmas shopping, cultural events or quality time spent with loved ones in a cosy café in the Old Town.
Tallinn is home to one of Europe's oldest Christmas trees. Historians notably claim that while the first public Christmas tree was erected in front of the Town Hall in Berlin in 1780, in London around 1840, and in Paris in 1865, the reports of a tree in front of the Tallinn Town Hall date back to 1441. Every year, the Tallinn Old Town tree keeps the traditions alive and stands proudly in the middle of the fairytale-like Christmas market. It is just one reason that Tallinn was named the Best Christmas Market in Europe in 2019, and in 2020 remains a top holiday pick as one of Europe's safest Christmas destinations.
Find more information about Tallinn’s Christmas programme: visittallinn.ee/christmas and about the safety measures in place both in Tallinn and elsewhere in Estonia: visittallinn.ee/eng/visitor/ideas-tips/tips-and-guides/travel-advice-for-tallinn
Christmas spirit in Tartu, the Estonia’s second-largest town and on its Town Hall square
The Village of Light, with its cosy calm traffic area, awaits residents of Tartu and visitors to the city to spend Christmas time in the city centre. In the Village of Light, which consists of 18 small houses, animal carousels revolve around visitors, and many of the glass pavilions can be entered. Whether it is to buy gingerbread, waffles and hot tea, lounge in the straw pavilion, enjoy a movie or watch the family of chickens.
A modern family of chickens with two roosters has moved into Tartu Town Hall Square to spend the holidays, too. The idea to build a henhouse in the heart of Tartu for Christmas was born more than a year ago. The strong attachment of the hearts of Tartu’s residents to the first family of chickens and the inquiries regarding the return of the chickens confirmed that the holidays in Tartu could once again see the return of the chickens to the city centre.
A new, nearly 1000-square-metre ice rink is now opened around the Kissing Students sculpture and fountain, where visitors can skate under starry skies until 17 February. Access to the skating rink is free for people, and skates can be rented from a nearby pavilion.
Congress of 10,000 Santa’s are meeting in Tallinn, Estonia to raise funds for the charity and to declare “Christmas is not cancelled!”
The ongoing corona crisis makes the traditional pre-holiday gatherings of Santa Clauses practically impossible, which is why the Virtual Congress of Santa Clauses will be held for the first time on December 13th under the leadership of Estonia, Finland and the USA. This enables 10,000 Santa Clauses from all over the world to meet through the virtual studio in Tallinn city, Estonia, to raise funds for the partner organization UNICEF, and to discuss the upcoming festivities.
"Christmas is a holiday associated with togetherness, peace and positivity. However, in the year of the corona crisis, nothing is the same and it sounds as if the Grinch is really trying to steal our Christmas, "said Lehari Kaustel , the CEO of Global Virtual Solutions, the company behind organizing the event.
The program of the Santa Claus Congress includes greetings from Santa Clauses from Finland, the USA, New Zealand, Australia, Russia and Japan, a brief overview of the world's Christmas traditions and a musical performance by the Santa Claus ensemble. During all this there will be a possibility to donate and support those in need.
It will be possible to watch the live broadcast of the Congress of Santa Claus on December 13 at 5 PM (UTC+2:00; Helsinki, Tallinn, Athens, Johannesburg) on the event’s website. From the website you can also find more information about the event.
Photos: Christmas - Dropbox
Kadri Gröön | Head of International Media and Gastronomy
(+372) 556 56 5615 | https://www.visitestonia.com/en/why-estonia/media-centre