Narva's Christmas village has opened for the eighth time. Unlike Christmas markets elsewhere, the Narva Christmas Village is less about the commercial aspects of the season and more about people gathering to share festive traditions.
Where else could Estonia's easternmost Christmas celebrations take place than in the courtyard of Narva Castle? Starting Friday and lasting for a whole week, it's all about Christmas here. There are Christmas cafés, Christmas dances, Christmas food and, of course, Estonia's Santa Claus "jõuluvana".
In an interview with ERR, jõuluvana confirmed, that the children in Narva have behaved extremely well throughout the year.
"Of course they have! Everyone deserves presents for the New Year. Their parents tell me about it, and I also do my own checks," said jõuluvana.
At the Christmas village, children can meet Santa to discuss their Christmas wish lists, pet animals in the garden just enjoy the festive atmosphere with their family and friends.
According to Narva residents, people in the city love to visit each other at Christmas and enjoy special meals with their family and friends.
"We eat, we dance, we drink, we visit (friends and relatives)," said Ruslan, from Narva. He tells ERR, that all kinds of foods are made for the Christmas table, including the traditional salad "Olivier," which is a must, and "herring under a fur coat" (A layered salad consisting of diced pickled herring covered with layers of grated boiled eggs, potatoes, carrots, beetroot, chopped onions, and mayonnaise – ed). Chicken or duck is also served, he said.
This is the eight time that the Christmas village has opened in Narva, and it is becoming something of a tradition itself.
"We usually go to Narva Castle at Christmas because there is always some kind of cultural program, which is really nice for children and grown-ups too," said Kristina, who is also from Narva.
The gates of the Christmas Village will be opened for visitors by "Lotte the Inventor" (A beloved character from Estonian children's' movie "Leiutajateküla Lotte" – ed.) and there are Estonian folk dancers to entertain the crowd. The Christmas Village in the grounds of Narva Castle will stay open until December 27.
Editor: Michael Cole