Health Board issues safety advice for Halloween, Mardipäev and Kadripäev

Halloween pumpkins.
Halloween pumpkins. Source: ERR

Coronavirus must be kept in mind by people who intend to celebrate Halloween on Saturday, the Health Board said. The advice is also relevant for Mardipäev or Kadripäev celebrations in November.

Director General of the Health Board Üllar Lanno said social distancing needs to be remembered and children with symptoms, even mild ones, should not go out. Anyone who has symptoms should not interact with others - such as opening the door to trick-or-treaters - or go to parties.

"Our behaviour now will determine how we will be able to celebrate Christmas and what the epidemiological situation may be by then, and even how we are able to welcome in 2021," he said.

Children are at somewhat of a higher risk of becoming infected on Halloween, as they receive treats from a number of homes.

"Even though people are mainly infected with coronavirus via close contacts, catching the virus from contaminated surfaces cannot be ruled out. With this in mind, accepting treats from others puts children at a somewhat higher risk of being infected," said Lanno.

The Health Board is also concerned about Halloween paries as several outbreaks of coronavirus have sprung up at parties in the past.

"You can't go to a party if you are not feeling well. If a person is tired, they must rest at home, because fatigue can also be a sign of infection," said Lanno.

With regard to Mardipäev or Kadripäev, the Health Board recommends that the epidemiological situation be taken into account. 

"It is clear today that these folk traditions must be honoured in a somewhat modified manner this year," said Lanno, specifying traditions could be celebrated with close acquaintances only. "If you really want to dress up and go trick-or-treating, you should only visit those people with whom you come into contact on a daily basis anyway."

Halloween, or All Saints' Night, is celebrated on October 31, Mardipäev (Saint Martin's day or Martinmas) on November 10 and Kadripäev (St. Catherine's Day) on November 25. 

While many people know about Halloween, Mardipäev and Kadripäev are Estonia's own versions. They both mark the start of winter and children traditionally visited houses around the village singing, telling riddles and collecting sweets, Visit Estonia writes.

On Mardipäev, children were led by a mardi-father, dressed in dark clothing and made plenty of noise by playing instruments or banging pots. Their arrival to houses was meant to bring harvest luck. The procession was followed by a village party where goose was served for good luck.

On Kadripäev, children were led by a kadri-mother and wore light coloured women's clothing. Kama, porridge, beans and peas were eaten along with homemade beer on this day. Kadri, a common female name in Estonia, is also the guardian spirit of cattle, thus the holiday was meant to bring luck to cows and sheep through the winter.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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