Village of Light II

Village of Light II

2 December 2018–10 January 2019

Everyone in Tartu loves arranging to meet up by the fountain of the Kissing Students, the kissing students included, and for that matter anywhere on Town Hall Square. For the duration of more than one cold month this very favourite meeting place is being been prepared with extra-special care: it is being made ready for that time of year when everyone’s favourite holiday season arrives and Tartu transforms into a Christmas city.

Village of Light II, the collection of glass pavilions which almost doubled in size during the long, hot summer, is calling everyone out of doors despite the wintry conditions – to take a stroll, get together with friends and loved ones, light Advent candles, cheer on the Santas` Winter Games and take part in Wintry Tartu Folk Dance Day. If the heavens aren’t raining down, you can enjoy the cosy space between the pavilions on the square, curl up, admire the chains of light, smile at the animal carousel and warm yourself by open fire. Whether you come deliberately or just happen to pass by, there will be something for everyone, since the festive season lasts for quite some time.

You will also be able to step into some of the pavilions in the Village of Light, whether for a hot cup of tea or to relax in the straw pavilion or to participate in workshops. Town Hall Square will also play host to a mini-botanical garden, and there will be a pavilion representing one of the world’s cutest museums – Tartu’s very own Toy Museum.

Being a Christmas city, Tartu once again has a special agreement with Santa’s post office. Its red branch – Santa’s Tartu post box – will await children’s letters next to the Christmas tree. The little bell that rings every time a letter is posted will be heard by the right ears all the way up in Lapland. Santa’s most trusted helper in the Village of Light will be Tartu’s very own city rabbit, Toivo.

Also visiting the city during the festivities will be the horses from the J. Kallaste Carriages. You can admire these fine beasts and take sleigh rides with them. Children will also love the ponies, who will be offering rides at these times.

The Village of Light will be open every day from 9:00–21:00, while traders will be on Town Hall Square from 17:00–21:00 Monday–Friday and from 11:00–21:00 Saturday and Sunday. Friends of Estonian design will also love the little pavilion featuring a cute and carefully curated selection of Made in Aparaaditehas items in the Village of Light. The design pavilion will be open from 17:00–21:00 Wednesday–Friday and from 11:00–19:00 Saturday and Sunday.



On 2 December at 5 p.m. on Town Hall Square
White Winter Wonderland – Lighting the 1st Advent Candle and Switching on Tartu’s Christmas Lights

It’s a winter wonderland! Come and celebrate the first Sunday in Advent on Town Hall Square in Tartu.
You’ll enjoy some magical and mystical music, glittering lights, the peaceful festive atmosphere and the biggest Christmas greeting from the City of Tartu. Grab or put on something white and get ready to wave when the advent candle is lit!

Helping to light the candle and switch on Tartu’s Christmas lights will be Etnosfäär.

Townsfolk and visitors will be greeted by the city’s mayor Urmas Klaas and Tartu County dean Ants Tooming.

The ceremony is being staged by Jaanika Tammaru from Must Kast Theatre.

The ‘My Dream Day’ charity will be inviting everyone to the Village of Light to help contribute to making people’s dreams come true.

On 9 December at 3.30 p.m. on Town Hall Square
International Santas` Winter Games 2018

Tartu is a very special place indeed – it’s even hosting the Santas` Winter Games!

Children spending time in fresh air, taking an athletic approach to life and having a laugh are all very important to Tartu. All the previously mentioned activities are beloved by Santas, too, who are of course constantly in the best shape of their lives.

That’s why each year, on the second Sunday in Advent, the members of the Estonian Society of Santas are invited to Town Hall Square in Tartu to see how they shape up against one another in a proper (if not altogether serious) competition, cheered on by kids and families and bystanders of all ages.

And with Christmas almost around the corner, this year Santas` Winter Games will be international in scope, with a special competitor flying in from Finland!

Overseeing the games, and keeping an eye on the scores, will be Kristjan Gold, ably assisted by Tartu city rabbit Toivo. A ceremony to light the second Advent candle will be held at the square at 5 p.m. right after all the Santas and children have had enough fun.

P.S. Take care not to get in the way of the scooters – those Santas can get up a good deal of speed when the competitive spirit enters them!

On 9 December at 5 p.m. on Town Hall Square
Red Revelry – Lighting the 2nd Advent Candle

Townsfolk and visitors will be greeted by the city’s deputy mayor Reno Laidre and St Luke’s congregation pastor Priit Tamm.

The international Santas` Winter Games (please see above, how awesome is this!) will be held on Town Hall Square prior to the ceremony. The Estonian Society of Santas will stay on with us on the square for the lighting of the 2nd Advent candle and they will be then joined by a brass band Äge Brass for one festive-themed party that follows.

No one will go home without a medal either from the Estonian Sports and Olympics Museum workshop, which will start in the Village of Light at 5.30 p.m.

On 15 December at 1 p.m. on Town Hall Square
Wintry Tartu Folk Dance Day 2018

Old Estonians were clever, clever people. They knew that dancing had a powerful and magical influence on the surrounding world. The fact has been kept in mind throughout the centuries and folk dancers in Tartu and Tartu County are especially unstoppable. They gather – in fact a good few hundreds of them – in the middle of sometimes freezing Estonian winter right on the slippery cobbles of Tartu Town Hall Square where the audience`s world cannot escape the magic either.

All this will again be the case on 15 December 2018 when at 1 p.m. dancers from Tartu and Tartu County perform Estonian folk dances and simple group dances on Town Hall Square of Tartu.

Come and see and perhaps even participate (if you so wish!) in some of the most loved Estonian folk dances! A great backdrop to the event is always conveniently provided by Christmas City Tartu – a very special meeting place right on Town Hall Square that is always worth the visit. Also, we strongly recommend you hop over this gallery from 2017 or see this dance from 2016.

Dancers will normally have probably lifted your spirits up to a point where you don`t wish to depart them, so do follow them to Gunpowder Cellar where the folk dance party continues and oh joy, now inside this ancient and truly magnificent building. Live music will be playing.

On 16 December at 5 p.m. on Town Hall Square
Blue Balladry – Lighting the 3rd Advent Candle

Raising some festive cheer and getting everyone singing along to Christmas classics will be the Miina Härma Gymnasium boys’ choir led by conductor Kadri Leppoja. (P.S. Next year Estonian Song Festival turns 150!)

Townsfolk will be greeted by the city’s deputy mayor Madis Lepajõe and St Paul’s congregation assistant vicar Marek Roots.

In the Estonian Agricultural Museum workshop at  5 p.m. you can learn how to make popular Christmas decorations.

On 23 December at 5 p.m. on Town Hall Square
Green Garden – Lighting the 4th Advent Candle

Townsfolk and visitors will be greeted by the city’s deputy mayor Mihkel Lees and University of Tartu St John’s congregation vicar Triin Käpp.
Bringing the peace of the season to the occasion will be the city’s Arsis bell ensemble.

In the Village of Light, Tartu Nature House will be conducting workshop starting at 5 p.m.

On 21 Deceber at 6 p.m. on Town Hall Square
Dress Rehearsal with Santa Jolle and his wife Asti

Jolle and his wife are great friends of Tartu. They are often to be found here, especially now that Santa commenced his doctorate in Christmas Studies at the University of Tartu this autumn.

Despite their busy schedule, Santa Jolle and Asti have taken time out to help the children of Tartu in the run-up to the festive season for several years now, and this year is no different. Everyone needs to practise their Christmas poems, after all!

They will be on Town Hall Square for children to recite their poems to from 18:00 on 21 December. And they have a few fun surprises up their sleeves, too!

On 24 December at noon on Town Hall Square

Declaration of Christmas Peace on Town Hall Square, Christmas soup will be offered starting from 11 a.m.

Contact us

Contact us

Ragnar Kekkonen
Project manager
phone: +372 5820 7279
e-mail: ragnarkekkonen@gmail.com

Katrin Vask
Programme and event planning
phone: +372 5348 2682
e-mail: katrin.vask@raad.tartu.ee

The Village of Light will be open every day from 9:00–21:00, while traders will be on Town Hall Square from 17:00–21:00 Monday–Friday and from 11:00–21:00 Saturday and Sunday.
The design pavilion will be open from 17:00–21:00 Wednesday–Friday and from 11:00–19:00 Saturday and Sunday.

Saint Cobain
Aura Veekeskus