When coming to Estonia, is good to know about Estonian Holidays - or in estonian Puhkepäevad.
From the astonishing number of 12 free-days, is interesting to note that more than half of them are religious (as Estonians often define themselves as non-religious). Check the dates for the Estonian Holidays in 2008 below:
· 1 January - New Year's Day (Uusaasta)
Nothing unusual here (except perhaps for the Estonian president pronunciation in TV on the 5 minutes before midnight in new year's eve).
· 24 February - Independence Day (Iseseisvuspäev)
Day of declaration of independence by Republic of Estonia from Russian Empire (1918).
· 21 March - Good Friday (Suur Reede)
Movable holiday, always on Friday :)
· 23 March - Easter Sunday (Ülestõusmispühade)
Movable holiday, always on Sunday :)
· 1 May - Spring Day (Kevadpüha)
Come again, Spring day? Wasn't that Worker's Day? Not for Estonians, though...
· 11 May - Pentecost (Nelipühade)
50 days after Easter, also on Sunday :)
· 23 June - Victory Day (Võidupüha)
Coincidently one day before midsummer day :) - Commemorates the victory of Estonian forces over the Baltic Germans' forces in the Battle of Võnnu (Cesis) in northern Latvia in 1919.
· 24 June - St John's Day or Midsummer Day (Jaanipäev)
Midsummer Eve is a traditional celebration held on the night of 23-24 June. This day marks a day closest to the longest day of the year when twilight and dawn appear to merge. The evening of the 23rd and well into the morning of the 24th is celebrated with bonfires and a traditional festive menu.
· 20 August - Day of Restoration of Independence (Taasiseseisvumispäev)
Dramatic developments in the Soviet Union in August 1991 resulted in the three Baltic countries finally regaining their independence. On 20 August 1991, Estonia issued a decision on the re-establishment of independence on the basis of historical continuity of statehood.
· 24 December - Christmas Eve (Jõululaupäev)
The day before Christmas, a full-day holiday...
· 25 December - Christmas Day (Esimene jõulupüha)
The first Christmas day...
· 26 December - Boxing Day (Teine jõulupüha)
And the second Christmas day! 3 Days of Christmas vacations, isn't that great? Combine that with new year's day and a weekend, and you have almost every year one week of free days! Specially useful to cheer up unmotivated souls from the long nights of winter.
What do you think? Too many, too few? Post it in the comments!