Gallery: Estonia celebrates Mardipäev

Children dressed up to celebrate Mardipäev on November 10.
Children dressed up to celebrate Mardipäev on November 10. Source: Ines Asman

Children across Estonia celebrated Mardipäev on Thursday, an annual event that traditionally marks the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter.

In Estonia, there are two big holidays in November, Mardipäev (Martinmas) on November 10 and Kadripäev (St. Catherine's Day) on November 25.

The events can be called Estonia's version of Halloween and have some common traits, including dressing up and collecting sweets.

School children dress in dark colors on Mardipäev and sing the mardilaul (Mart's song) to be let in at the door and wear light colors and sing the kadrilaul (Kadri's song) on Kadripäev.

On Mardipäev, children are led by a Mardi-father, dressed in dark clothing and made plenty of noise by playing instruments or banging pots.

To celebrate Kadripäev, children are led by a kadri-mother and wear light-colored women's clothing. The day has a bigger focus on women and in the folk calendar, it marks the end of autumn and the beginning of winter.

Traditionally, their arrival at houses was meant to bring good fortune for the harvest.

Today, while Estonia is no longer the agricultural society it once was, Mardipäev and Kadripäev are still celebrated by young people, particularly in small towns and the countryside.

ETV's viewers sent in photos from across the country on Thursday to show how they were marking the day.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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