On Monday morning, Tartu Town Hall Square (Raekoja Plats) was filled with the smell of pancakes as hungry students gathered for the traditional pancake breakfast, which marks the start of this year's Spring Student Days Festival.
Madis, who this year was serving pancakes at the annual event for the fourth time, is well accustomed to the long queues and demanding students.
"I can't put down my bowl for even a moment because people are in line and I can't keep them waiting. I know how hungry students are in the mornings," he said.
Helena Udso, Tartu Student Days' program manager, said, that efforts have been made to ensure the pancake breakfast is also kind to the environment. Since 2019, students have been asked to bring their own cutlery and dishes in order to get some free food.
"At this pancake breakfast in particular, you can see that a lot of people have brought their own dishes. They don't ask us (for dishes) so much and nobody comes with disposable ones anymore. It's definitely a big improvement," Udso said.
Pancakes were available at the breakfast of course, but there were also other options, including tartar, pastries, smoothies and porridge.
The pancake breakfast was held slightly in advance of the main festival, which really gets going on Saturday night when a traditional student party takes place. After that, there will be a variety of events held every day from April 22 to 30, some of which are already proving particularly popular.
According to Udso, the most popular event is the memory game. "It's so traditional and it's been done for decades. Then it's the pub crawl and the water based events have certainly become especially popular recently. Plus, the parties," said Udso.
This year's Tartu Student Days Spring Festival starts for real on April 22, with the Students' Night song Festival. After meeting at 8 p.m. in Town Hall Square, a parade of students will then head towards Tartu's Lume Park for an evening of singing and live music.
The Tartu Student Days Spring Festival ends on April 30 with a Walpurgis Night celebration featuring live music from folk metal band Metsatöll and a firework show on Tartu's Vabaduse puiestee.
More information about Tartu Student Days' Spring Festival including the full program in English and details about how to sign up for events is available here.
Editor: Michael Cole