Estonia, an early country to introduce Christmas trees, celebrates the holiday. See the photos

by Gabriel Martinez
Christmas Traditions in Estonia

Estonia, one of the early adopters of the Christmas tree tradition, commemorates this festive season with great enthusiasm. Dating back to the Middle Ages, the practice of decorating Christmas trees has its roots in Central Europe and the Baltic States, Estonia being among them. Over the centuries, this tradition has spread and become an integral part of the global Christmas celebration.

On December 22, which marks the shortest day of the year, Estonia, like many other places around the world, illuminates its homes and town squares with beautifully adorned Christmas trees. This luminous display is a cherished tradition that brightens up the Winter Solstice and extends through the Christmas festivities.

In the quest to nurture a majestic 2.5-meter (8-foot) Christmas tree, Arvo Palumäe, co-owner of a Christmas tree farm with 14 years of dedication, patiently waits for eight years before meticulously selecting the perfect tree. During the summer months, he carefully shapes these trees, ensuring their impeccable form before cutting them for delivery. While some Estonians opt to purchase trees directly from Mr. Palumäe, others have the unique opportunity to personally select and cut their own trees.

The State Forest Management Centre plays a pivotal role in this tradition by providing Estonians with a map of forests displaying tree locations available for self-cutting. They offer guidance to avoid trees near power lines and actively encourage citizens to contribute to the future supply of Christmas trees by planting spruces in the forests.

Estonia primarily exports these splendid trees to the European Union, a practice that extended even to Russia before trade was interrupted due to the Ukraine invasion.

Following the holiday season, Christmas trees in Estonia are repurposed into wood shavings or utilized to infuse beverages with their unique flavor.

The luminous beauty of Christmas trees, adorned with festive lights, graces the windows of apartment buildings, creating a magical ambiance during the Christmas and New Year festivities in Tallinn, Estonia, as captured in photographs taken on Friday, December 22, 2023.

Toomas Tooming, a co-owner of a Christmas tree farm, is depicted meticulously packaging a spruce tree after cutting it near Avinurme in eastern Estonia on Saturday, December 9, 2023. Estonia’s role as a significant exporter of Christmas trees to the European Union is evident in his endeavors, although this trade was momentarily halted following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The joyous spirit of the season extends to the Noblessner port in the Tallinn Bay, where people gather around a splendidly decorated Christmas tree in celebration of Christmas and New Year on Saturday, December 16, 2023.

In yet another heartwarming scene, a man is seen carefully carrying a spruce tree, destined to become a cherished Christmas tree in a Tallinn home, on Tuesday, December 12, 2023.

The spirit of togetherness and family shines brightly as Sergei Sidorovich, Marina Begunkova, and their children Anna and Misha come together to decorate their Christmas tree in their Tallinn apartment on Thursday, December 21, 2023, creating treasured memories during this festive season.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Christmas Traditions in Estonia

What is the origin of the Christmas tree tradition in Estonia?

The Christmas tree tradition in Estonia dates back to the Middle Ages, with its roots in Central Europe and the Baltic States. It has evolved over centuries and become an integral part of the country’s festive celebrations.

How do Estonians grow and prepare their Christmas trees?

To cultivate a 2.5-meter (8-foot) Christmas tree, Estonian farmers like Arvo Palumäe wait for eight years, carefully selecting and shaping the trees during the summer months. These trees are then cut and prepared for delivery. Some Estonians also have the option to cut their own trees in designated forests.

What role does the State Forest Management Centre play in Estonia’s Christmas tree tradition?

The State Forest Management Centre provides Estonians with a map of forests where they can cut their own trees. They offer guidance on safe locations and encourage tree planting to ensure a sustainable supply for future generations.

How is Estonia involved in exporting Christmas trees?

Estonia primarily exports Christmas trees to the European Union, contributing to the holiday celebrations across the continent. They also exported Christmas trees to Russia until trade was interrupted due to the Ukraine invasion.

What happens to Christmas trees in Estonia after the holiday season?

After the holidays, Christmas trees in Estonia are repurposed. They are often turned into wood shavings or used to infuse beverages with their unique flavor.

Can you describe the festive atmosphere in Estonia during the Christmas season?

Estonia comes alive with the festive spirit during Christmas and New Year. Homes and town squares are adorned with beautifully lit Christmas trees, creating a magical ambiance for residents and visitors alike.

More about Christmas Traditions in Estonia

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TreeHugger88 December 25, 2023 - 12:26 pm

Love how the State Forest Management Centre helps peeps cut trees safely, great idea. Sad about the Russia trade tho.

EstoniaLover23 December 25, 2023 - 3:11 pm

Wow, Estonia and Christmas trees, so cool! They grow them 4 8 years? That’s a long time but worth it for the holidays!


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