Easter traditions are rather young in Estonia...|
Easter traditions are rather young in Estonia. Our grandmothers took the eastern habits from Baltic-Germans without taking over the meanings – painted eggs just seemed so beautiful. So for us, their grandchildren, painting eggs has no connection with religion traditions. It is more like a way of expressing one’s creativity. We use different colors and techniques: painting with herbs, watercolors, markers, special colors etc.
There aren’t any certain patterns to use, everyone can do it any way they like. We also give colored eggs as presents to friends and children are cracking the eggs.
More than Easter Estonians have traditionally celebrated a spring. There is a day near Easter called Paastumaarjapäev (the Day of Virgin Mary and Fast) which is a women’s day. Women and girls go together to swim in a spring in the sunrise – it will make them fresh and good-looking for rest of the year. After they dance and sing and dance traditional round dances. It used to be the only day when men stayed at home and took care of the house and children.
Women colored their cheeks with a herb “naistepuna” (“women’s red”) and went to tavern to have some red liqueur.
Celebrating spring contains more or less fertilizing rituals. As we have to do a lot of work to making something grow, these rituals have an important place in our traditions. It is not only necessary for getting a good harvest from your field but also having a lot of children who will work in your farm.