Global Estonian | Easter in Estonia: old traditions and new beginnings
Easter in Estonia: old traditions and new beginnings
Source: Visit Estonia

Easter in Estonia: old traditions and new beginnings

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In Estonia, Easter marks the beginning of spring. It's a time of celebration, of tapping into old traditions to mark the changing of the seasons.

Easter is referred to by many different names in Estonian:
Ületõusmispüha (Resurrection), Lihavõtted (literally meaning meat-taking holiday, marking the end of Lent), Munadepüha (egg holiday), and Kiigepühad (swing holiday, referring to the tradition of swinging on the large wooden village swing on Easter Sunday).

In the Estonian Folk Calendar, Kavadepüha or Spring Holiday falls between 16 March and 20 April, marking the week leading up to Easter. This week was used for completing household chores, such as cleaning after a long winter.

Easter Sunday in Estonia is usually celebrated with a long lunch, egg dyeing, and an old-fashioned Easter egg hunt. It's common to decorate your own eggs. Typically the eggs are painted with natural dyes like onion skins or beetroot juice and then put in a basket as a centrepiece for the table.

Having real eggs on the table is crucial for the after-meal egg-knocking competition, where each year makes a champion out of someone new. The competition rules are simple: you tap the end of your egg against your opponent's and the shell that doesn't crack is the winner!

Many of the Easter customs that are still practised today (like egg knocking) come from old folk traditions. Egg rolling, mostly practised in Setomaa, has the same principle as egg knocking — your aim is to crack your opponent's egg. An egg is rolled down a pile of sand to try and hit other eggs. How intricate you make your ramp, is completely up to you. The person whose egg remains intact wins!




Veebilehte haldab Integratsiooni Sihtasutus.
Sihtasutuse asutaja on Eesti Vabariik, kelle nimel teostab asutajaõigusi Kultuuriministeerium.