Well, well, we’re back to chocolate aren’t we? Today, we return to a former Soviet Republic (aren’t they all?) to look at Estonia, land of chalky chocolate bars and Santa Claus.
Now, what does Santa have to do with chocolate? Nothing. Nothing at all. But like our Christmas in July celebrations or the Christmas Tree Shoppe, Estonia has latched onto the Christmas holiday as a way to attract tourists and it is not letting it go!
We’re going to do something a little different this week. It will be a guest writer who will tell you a little bit about Christmas in Estonia. The connection to chocolate is pretty much decorative: the crazy Soviet-style Santa on the wrapper and the holiday decorations on the Soviet era City Hall building in Tallinn..
Where did we get this chocolate? Believe it or not, Meena gave a delegation from Tallinn, Estonia a tour of our fair city, Manchester, a couple weeks ago, and they passed out insane looking Santa chocolate bars! They were very nice former Soviet men, in European suits, flat shoes and Borat-sounding accents.
So, the chocolate – it’s Estonia, ok! I think it goes without saying that the chocolate tasted vaguely like cooking coco, had an odd white chalk coating, and was oddly missing sugar. But that could describe any chocolate from that part of the world.
What really made this great was Christmas!
So, without any further ado, here’s what the magnificent Travel Maps of the World web site had to say about Christmas in Estonia. Try to picture a tall, mustachioed man with curly hair, large hands and a leisure suit reading this to you..
They really take their Christmas seriously over there!
Excerpted from: http://travel.mapsofworld.com/estonia/christmas.html
“Christmas in Estonia is celebrated with immense fun and gratification. Estonia is a must-visit country in Northern Europe that has become real attraction for all. Estonia is surrounded with Latvia to the south and Russia to the east. This country is mainly separated from Finland to the north by the Gulf of Finland and Sweden at the western part by the Baltic Sea. Christmas is also a formally declared public holiday. In the country of Estonia, the Christmas celebrations are performed in the Churches by the Catholics. So, when you come on holidays in Estonia, Christmas in Estonia will be the most preferred festival to enjoy.
“Both the Catholics and Orthodox Christians, along with the Lutherans and Atheists, enjoy Christmas in Estonia. Estonia, being a former USSR country, did not have any permission to celebrate Christmas openly. However, today, the entire image is completely diverse.
“Christmas in Estonia mainly starts with the day of Christmas Eve. Everyone in the family waits for Santa Claus to come from Lapland with his sleigh conducted by reindeer. The local people believe that Santa come with a huge bag of gifts. Both young and old people get their gifts by singing songs, chanting verses or performing dances.
“Christmas celebrations in Estonia are the mélange of custom, contemporary, the secular, and the religious. Unlike the other Nordic states, Estonia rejoices Christmas Eve with grand ceremony and energy. Christmas season mainly begins with the introduction, which is described as Advent. Most of the Estonian abodes have an Advent circlet and an Advent Calendar. Christmas in Estonia mainly means two things to the people. At first, Christmas marks the birth of Jesus Christ. Secondly, Christmas also stands for the entire period of mid-winter holidays. It has the pagan influences. This country has a convention of creating some special Christmas crowns copying the church pendants.
“The traditional Estonian food is an important aspect of Christmas in Estonia. The extensive use of pork and Sauerkraut including potatoes is the main ingredient of traditional fooding. They also use blood pudding and meat jelly. The local people also include sweets and cakes. Gingersnaps are the main parts of Christmas festivities. These are made up of various shapes like little stars and moons, gingerbread men and women, birds, dogs, cats and bears. Christmas tree is another important factor of the Christmas in Estonia. The well-decorated Christmas tree can be seen in almost every house, which are replete with the scented candles and fir.
“The Christmas in Estonia is celebrated in the same fervor and grandeur as the other parts of the world. The local Christian people mainly spend their vacation with their family. For non-Christians, this is the only period when they can thrive in their business.”
As near as we can figure, the only connection the puppy has to the chocolate is that cuteness sells! Very Western.