Easter in Estonia – cleaning, predicting the weather and painting eggs

Estonia may be one of the least religious countries in the world, but when it comes to religious holidays, Estonians generally give the nod or combine it with one of their own folk traditions.*

Easter, commemorating the crucifixion and celebrating the resurrection of Jesus – aJewishpreacher and religious leader who became the central figure ofChristianity – may have had a completely alien connotation for Estonians before the Teutonic Knights brought Christianity to the country in the 13th century, but in Estonia’s folk calendar, Easter is celebrated as a spring holiday to welcome the arrival of the lighter and warmer season - writes estonianworld.com

Once the Christian customs mixed with the local traditions, a new set of habits emerged over time.

In the folk calendar,Kevadepühaor spring holiday falls anywhere between 16 March and 20 April in the week leading up to Easter. Traditionally, this week was important for completing household chores, such as cleaning after a long winter. The weather during the week could apparently predict the climate for the summer. If it was raining, a wet summer was to follow and if there was fog, a hot summer was in store.

Judging personalities by egg colours

Good Thursday was considered a partial holiday in preparation for Good Friday. Lighter meals were consumed and everyone rested on Good Friday. It was a rare occasion that anyone actually left their houses on that day.

Much like today, Easter Sunday was a day full of festivities. This was usually the day when eggs were exchanged or given as gifts. Young people would meet at the nearby village swing and girls would give the Easter eggs they decorated to the boys as a thank you for building the swing they would then spend their afternoon on.

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