And boy did we have our years’ worth of festivities! The hype was enormous leading up to the most popular day of the year, Midsummer’s Eve. Estonians celebrate the summer solstice (white nights) on June 23rd when the day never ends. The tradition is especially important there because the majority of people are Atheist. The holiday is pre-Christian (Pagan) and entails bonfires lit to protect against evil spirits set free when the sun turns southward. The idea is to pick midsummer plants with magical healing powers, then jump the bonfires for prosperity. Only Christmas and New Years’ Eve rival this day in popularity. We didn’t plan very well, unknowing that most people leave Tallinn to celebrate with their families in the countryside.
Tallinn has this interesting mix of high-tech industry with old world architecture and Pagan tradition. We tirelessly walked its winding cobblestone streets to find Gothic decorations, iron street lamps and 13th/16th century Medieval doodads. The town is very quaint and surrounded by well preserved city walls with guard towers. Estonians take pride in that they were never “invaded”. Most tourists flock immediately to the enormous churches all with their own fairytale story. We call Tallinn, “Medieval Legoland”…. colorful and imaginative. Continue Reading