Merry Christmas tag from JP's GeoDesigns
Wednesday, December 31, 2014
In Kartantekijän mysteeri / Mapmaker's mystery
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Travel around the world and bring joy to everyone!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
You can hang me on your tree for a day or two and take a picture.
About This Item
Christmas time is still the most important holiday celebrated in Estonia. For Estonians, Christmas is a mixture of the traditional, the modern, the secular, and the religious. Like in other Nordic states, Estonia's celebration of Christmas mostly falls on Christmas Eve, however, Christmas season starts from Advent with people buying Advent calendars or lighting Advent candles. Each year on December 24, the President of Estonia declares Christmas Peace, which is a 350-year-old tradition in Estonia.
Jõulud as the winter solstice, when the day is the shortest and the night the longest, is celebrated between December 21 and 25. According to folk-tradition, "the sun was laying in the nest" and the day was celebrated as the Sun's birthday. From that day on, the Sun started to rise and move slowly to the north again.
At the same time, Christmas was the culmination of the late autumn celebrations, which began with the harvest bees and continued with All Souls', St. Martin's and St. Catherine's Day celebrations. The connection with Jesus Christ, compared to the ancient local pagan Christmas traditions, is relatively recent and had not gained prominence until the last few centuries. At the same time, according to the local Christmas traditions, these celebrations, especially Christmas Eve, reflect everything connected with the habits and most necessary needs of the local peasantry.
The Christmas season, in connection with its special tasks and bans for different work, began on St. Thomas's Day (the first day of the winter solstice), following the three to four week preparation period. During winter, the peasantry had enough time to celebrate long holidays. Pigs were slaughtered and ale was brewed in preparation for St. Thomas's Day. Some activities like grindering in the mill, spinning, quilling, and horse-driving were banned because they were noisy and could disturb the good ghosts.
Christmas Eve and Christmas Night were the most sacred times of the season, often characterised by fortune telling. With the help of the stars and the frost, the weather for the coming year was predicted. Christmas food had to remain on the table (as part of the cult of the ancestors) and the fire burning in the fireplace (probably as sun worship) for the whole night. It was believed that both good and bad forces were on the move on Christmas Night and that ancestors would visit the house. The next year's harvest was also predicted.
In terms of Christmas and New Year's Eve traditions, the habit of taking a bath in the sauna is a very old and important tradition. It was a custom to go to the sauna on Christmas Eve after preparing the house for the festive evening celebrations. Going to a steam bath was widespread all over the country and was similar to the same habit on Midsummer's Eve. The sauna was traditionally visited before the Christmas Eve service in the local village church. As the first Christmas surprise, the children were offered festive new clothes and shoes to dress in for the evening church service.
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