Shrove Tuesday in Estonia|Pagan Traditions

Hello dear ones, hello to whoever is reading this post and welcome to this witchy pagan blog 🙂 For those who don’t know, Estonia is a small country in North Europe, just under Finland, one of the three Baltic countries and confines with Russia. Since I am Estonian I want to share our traditions and often pagan ways, it’s always fun to learn I think.

Shrove Tuesday (aka Pancake) day is a big holiday there, I’d say as big as Easter, maybe even more. This holiday is called Vastlapäev, the word comes from a German word “fasten”(to fast) and päev means day. After that day the fasting begun, cause the meat ran out. The old Estonians ate by the reasons and meat was only eaten in the wintertime.

Traditions: The main tradition is sledding, it’s for kids and adults both. The idea of sledding was to bring luck for the new harvest and the one with the longest “line” of sledding will grow the tallest flax (at the time flax was one of the most important crop). Sleight ride is also a part of this tradition. These plus the food are still used today as a tradition, but let’s take a look at some older traditions.

Me & my dad sledding back in 2001

It was a day to cut hair and horse tail hair, cause it would make your hair strong as the horses hair. And you had to brush your hair seven times.

Women’s jobs were forbidden, especially spinning yarn and other moving around jobs, it was supposed to bring bad luck to sheep. You could tie and make ropes. Also forbidden was lighting a fire, that was considered harmful for horses and livestock. There was no visiting others as well, especially for women as it made the pigs grumpy (what? :D).

After eating the bones left were given names, then they let the dog in and who’s bone the dog chose would find a husband first.

Food: For breakfast it was mostly groat porridge. The most important meal were pork legs and the fatter and greasier the food, the better. Nowadays the most important and used Shrove Tuesday food are a Pea Soup and Buns with Whipped Cream. They serve these at schools and kindergartens, and most moms will do them do.

In the past the pork legs were served with peas or salted beans. Sometimes they brought their pork legs with them to eat outside while sledding and it wasn’t recommended to clean the fingers from the grease. to A special treat was the pig tail and it was left for  the kids.

Of course I underestimated the time I had in hand. I wanted to write about older traditions, but it’s already Shrove Tuesday! I guess I’ll leave it for the next year. I am not going sledding unfortunately since I don’t currently live in Estonia, but I’ll surely make some delicious buns 🙂



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