December 25th has come and gone, Santa is taking his annual vacation and the Christmas Markets are closed. Christmas must be over, right?
Wrong. Christmas is only over for those of us who celebrate it on December 25th, as per the Gregorian calendar. The Russian Orthodox Church follows the Julian calendar, which places Christmas on January 7th. So, are there any cities with a significant population of Russian Orthodox followers that also have a Christmas Market?
Yes. Tallinn, Estonia does.
Santa Claus, mulled wine, gifts and holiday cheer at Tallinn’s Christmas Market
Tallinn’s Christmas Market is in the Town Hall Square in its Old Town. Perched on a hill, the Old Town still has parts of its medieval walls and towers. The roofs of the wall towers, as well as most other roofs, are red; the buildings are painted yellow, green, terra-cotta, blue-grey, and a few other colors. The white church steeples pick up a hint of yellow from the low-hanging winter sun. But I think the city shines best (sorry, couldn’t resist the pun) at night when the Christmas lights are on. Many of the towers, such as Fat Margaret, have their roofs covered in red lights. The tall Christmas tree, decorated with heart-shaped ornaments that shine red, is surrounded by vendors’ huts that glow with yellow light and are busy with customers.
Tallinn’s Town Hall Square
Tallinn’s Town Hall Square is bigger than the Dom Square in Riga, allowing space for a few extras alongside the vendors: a merry-go-round for the kiddies and a stage for live performances. The vendors were similar to the ones in Riga and Gdańsk, selling hats, food, mulled wine, souvenirs, knitted clothing, candles, etc. We each bought a warm hat to guard against the cold wind of northern Poland and “splurged” on a small penguin that was made from felt. We thought it was a finger puppet but the vendor said it was made as a cozy for soft-cooked eggs.
We scheduled our trip so that we could visit their Christmas Market and celebrate New Year’s Eve. Celebrating Christmas ~ again ~ plus ushering in the New Year in such a beautiful city was a perfect way to end 2017 and begin 2018.
There’s much more to Tallinn
If you’ve enjoyed this quick glimpse of Tallinn’s Christmas Market and are curious about other aspects of this beautiful city, please check out these posts:
Tallinn part 2: A Submarine and a KGB artifact
Tallinn part 3: Our favorite type of souvenir