Tallinn's Christmas market gets holiday cheer started

  • 2009-12-02
  • By Ella Karapetyan

CHRISTMAS SPIRIT: Santa's waiting with all his temptations.

TALLINN - Tallinn Mayor Edgar Savisaar together with the dean of Tallinn Jaan Tammsal kicked off the Christmas season on Nov. 29 as they lit the first Advent candle on the Christmas tree in Town Hall Square. Savisaar proclaimed the Christmas Peace, reading the Christmas declaration from the window of the Town Hall to the townsfolk and visitors below on the square.
This will be the 8th year the Christmas Market is being held in the square.
As we reported last week, the on-line edition of the British daily The Times recently compiled a ‘top 20’ list of Europe’s best Christmas markets. The top position on this list was awarded to the Christmas market in Tallinn, which is open from Nov. 29 to Jan. 7.

The first Christmas tree in Town Hall Square, as the story goes, was first installed in 1441, making it the first public Christmas tree ever put on display in Europe. Single merchants and city girls carried on with dancing around the Christmas tree and, when the festivities were over, burned the tree. The modern Christmas market now continues the tradition, with about 200,000 visitors expected to attend.

Wooden huts have been set up on the square, where merchants will offer visitors various Christmas-themed temptations, from handicraft candles and sweaters to mulled wine, sauerkraut and blood sausage. The market is also home to Tallinn’s Santa Claus, who flies in to listen to children, whether naughty or nice, give their gift wishes. Among other activities, various Estonian artists, children’s choirs and ensembles will give performances, a public decorating of the Christmas tree and a golf tournament will take place.

Santa’s Cabin will be open daily, providing children an opportunity to consult with Santa and whisper their secret wishes directly in his ear. Moreover, from Santa’s Post Office, each and every one can send their Christmas ‘wishes.’ The cabins, surrounding the Christmas tree, are decorated with bright lights and make an idyllic wonderland village, and provide an excellent venue for craftsmen to introduce and sell their products.
The townsfolk will come out to celebrate and enjoy the warm Christmas beverages and soups will be served to help to fight the brisk and cold weather. The Christmas spirit is alive with the multitude of bright lights decorating the market with Christmas music adding to the warmth surrounding the scene. The streets leading to the square will witness all kinds of fairy tales and fantasy characters, and Santa’s Little Helpers will greet the passers-by, inviting them to enjoy the season’s fairy tale atmosphere.

The first time this Christmas market event took place was in 2000. Each year the number of visitors to the market increase.
The size of the market itself, the number of days it is held, and the diversifity of the program continues to grow.
Deputy Elder of the Tallinn City Center District Juri Lump notes that the market has received high recognition in the international arena, and that besides the main square activities, has expanded this year to other points around the city. “In addition to the market center, with its 65 huts, trade and entertainment activities will also take place on Harju street, as well as in Vabaduse Square, in Tammsaare Park, near the gates on Viru street and in the Rotermanni Quarter,” said Lump.
The organizers of the Christmas market say that the goal of the event is to provide genuine, unadulterated Christmas joy, a fabulous cultural program and “superb leisure time activities.”