Merry Christmas everyone! It’s December 23rd here in Tallinn, Estonia, and it’s snowing! I’m hoping for my very first white Christmas.
Christmas in Estonia is a little different than Christmas in the States. For one, they use it celebrate their pagan history more than the birth of Christ Jesus. They start the celebration on December 21st (also known as St. Thomas Day), with a winter solstice festival. Superstitions and fortune-telling have always been a big part of this holiday season. And it’s still evident in the witches on broomsticks that are sold all over the Christmas market in Old Town.
Jouluvana, the Estonian Santa Clause, and Pakapikk, an Estonian Christmas elf, are responsible for distributing gifts this time of year, according to tradition. Instead of leaving milk and cookies for Santa, Estonians traditionally leave out food on the table, for visiting spirits. And brooms are cleaned often this time of year so that they can’t be used by demons to spread mischief.
Christmas Peace is declared every year by the leader of Estonia. This is a tradition that is centuries old.
During this festive time, it’s even more evident why Estonia needs Jesus. A country that has for so long claimed anti-religious view, opens itself up to so much mysticism and witchcraft during the Christmas season. They now mix their ancient pagan traditions with modern Christmas traditions…and refuse to acknowledge the true reason for the season.
May Christ pour out His Spirit on this land in the coming year.