On Sunday Tartu's Christmas village will be opened and a host of cultural activities have been planned for its six-week stay in the city.
On Dec. 1 at 5 p.m. the Christmas lights at Tartu's Town Hall Square will be turned on and the Tartu Village of Light will be opened. The top moments of the Christmas Village are Advent candle lightings each Sunday, Folk Dance Day with nearly a thousand participants, and the famous Santa Clause Winter Games.
The lighting of the Advent Candles and a light show takes place at 5 p.m. on the first four Sundays – 1, 8, 15 and 22 – in December. On the first Advent Sunday, residents will be greeted by Tartu Mayor Urmas Klaas and Ants Tooming, Pastor of the congregation at Tartu St Peter's Church and Provost for Tartu County.
Also helping to set the Christmas feeling every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night is a video projection displayed on the façades of two Town Hall Square buildings. The Kissing Students Fountain will be clothed in Christmas light by installation artist Elo Liiv.
The Santa Clause Winter Games will begin at Town Hall Square at 3.30 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 8. Families from the Theatre Vanemuine and the Estonian National Museum and Olympic Champion Kristina Šmigun-Vähi with her family have promised to appear at the starting line.
Without a doubt the most crowded event at the Village of Light is Wintry Tartu will be Folk Dance Day, which brings a total of 800 dancers from Estonia and Latvia to the cobblestones of Tartu Town Hall Square. The dance performance begins at Town Hall Square at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 14.
This year a Christmas chicken coop is also being opened at the Light Village, the residents will be arriving on Dec. 2. The chickens will be provided with a secure environment and their living conditions have been created based on recommendations by specialists from the Estonian University of Life Sciences.
The Tartu Village of Light is open from Dec. 1 until Jan. 10 and has the biggest cultural program in Estonia. The village is made up of 19 glass pavilions on Town Hall Square.
The Village of Light and Tartu Christmas season program can be viewed here.
Editor: Helen Wright