Culture is Happening: Events around Estonia, December 13-19

As Christmas draws nearer and nearer, you can expect lots more pictures of Christmas markets like this one, in Kärdla.
As Christmas draws nearer and nearer, you can expect lots more pictures of Christmas markets like this one, in Kärdla. Source: Visit Estonia

Across Estonia, from Tallinn to the smallest villages in the most remote parts of the country, there is always something going on — from festivals to workshops, exhibit openings to guided tours, and movie screenings to concerts.

Here are just a few highlights of cultural events taking place in Estonia this weekend and next week (hint: It being nearly Christmas and all, there is rather an abundance of winter handicraft fairs). All links in English unless otherwise noted.


Friday, December 13: Rhapsody in Blue.

The Estonian National Symphony Orchestra (ENSO) and pianist, organist, and conductor Wayne Marshall (U.S.) is playing music of George Gershwin, including Rhapsody in Blue, and pieces from Porgy and Bess.

7 p.m. at the Estonia Concert Hall.

Friday, December 13-Saturday, December 14: Tallinn Fringe Festival.

The last two nights of the Tallinn Fringe Festival bring performances including circus, burlesque, magic, standup, vaudeville, music and more, at Kellerteater on Uus 13 in the Old Town and Heldeke! on Tööstuse 13 in Kalamaja: Heldeke! also has a sauna...

Saturday, December 14: Christmas music festival "Jõulud ja Armastus" (link in Estonian).

2019 at Kellerteater, Uus tn 37. 6 p.m. to midnight. Many similar concerts take place in other locations across Estonia in the coming days.

All week: Tallinn's annual Christmas market continues to build up towards the festivities, with plenty of nick nacks and Glöögi (mulled wine) both alcoholic and not available, in Rajakoja plats.

All week: Open Air museum Christmas village. If you want an even more outdoor experience, head to the Open Air Museum (Vabaõhusmuuseum) in Rocca al Mare, west of the city center, to experience rustic, old barn-dwellings, farmhouses, a schoolhouse and village shop, and partake in Christmas preparations as they would have been 100 years ago.

All week: Unusual films festival. While Tallinn Black Nights (PÖFF) is a fading memory already, cinema buffs can still see unusual or esoteric cinema at various venues here (link in Estonian).

All week: Creating the Self: Emancipating Women in Estonian and Finnish Art. This large-scale exhibition at the Contemporary Art Museum (Kumu) on A. Weizenbergi tn 34 focuses on the changes in women's self-awareness and social position that started in the early 19th century and are reflected in the work of female artists and in the way women are depicted, through comparative Estonian and Finnish art from the mid-19th to the mid-20th centuries. The exhibition runs to the beginning of next March.


Saturday, December 14: Wintry Tartu Folk Dance Day, Raekoja plats, 1 p.m. Hundreds of folk dancers are set to come together to dance on the wintertime cobblestones.

Sunday, December 15: Estonian National Museum (ERM) Christmas fair. High-quality Estonian crafts and food, which complement the rich selection of the museum shop are for sale, ERM says, with a number of surprises lined up. Eesti Rahva Muuseumi A-sissepääs, Muuseumi tee.

Rest of Estonia


Sunday, December 15: Charity Christmas Run in Narva: Starting at Puškini allee, all participants have to wear a Christmas decoration, costume, or a hat, and will receive a small gift for their troubles. Children run for free, and get a medal and sweets. 12 p.m.-4 p.m.


Starting Saturday, 13 December: Pärnu Kaubamajakas shopping center Christmas fair. Experience Christmas decorations, along with performers also help get you in the Christmas mood, Estonian handmade presents, Christmas flavors and a lot more. 10.00 a.m. till 8 p.m. until 24 December inclusive.

Sunday, 15 December: Christmas lunch with live music. Villa Amende cafe on Mere pst. 7 offers a delicious Christmas menu with decorated dining hall, seasonal food, a crackling fireplace and heart-warming Christmas music. Every Sunday until Christmas.

Kärdla, Hiiumaa

Friday, 13 December – Saturday, 14 December: Kärdla Winter Handicraft Fair. Local and Estonian handicraft and food, a cultural program every hour, competitions with the audience choosing their favorites. Takes place at the Kärdla Valla Kultuuri ja Vaba Aja Keskus, 10.00 a.m.- 3 p.m., Rookopli.


Friday, December 13-Saturday, December 14: Viljandi Handicraft Fair, Sakala keskus. Craftsmen and chefs come together in Sakala Centre, to help preserve the legacy of previous generations in a changing world. National handicrafts and beautiful folk costumes, colorful textiles, embroidery, lace, and jewellery, tasty and healthy food. 11.00 a.m.-4 p.m. Tallinna tee/Turu tee.

If you plan on staying in...

Saturday, December 14: etv2, if you have Estonian-speaking children, is showing French animation Belle et Sebastien, 5 p.m.

Sunday, December 15: ERR News is running a recent interview we did with new Social Democratic Party (SDE) MP Raimond Kaljulaid, around Sunday lunchtime. Raimond will be giving us the lowdown on the switch between the worlds of business and politics, and choices he faced in leaving the Centre Party, running as an independent, then joining SDE.

Wednesday, December 18: etv2 is showing 2017 documentary Leadership and Pope Francis, in Italian with Estonian subtitles, 8 pm. Pope Francis visited Estonia in September 2018.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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