Written by Percy Alao

In Tallinn, Estonia, it is a common practice to celebrate Christmas with the opening of the Christmas market right in the middle of the old town. Locals and people from Europe and other places come to visit the market, buy different Estonian winter souvenirs, drink wine, and eat.

My first Estonian Christmas experience was last year (2016) when I started studying in Tallinn. We had received an invitation from the Head of Department to join the Christmas celebration organised by the Department of Material Sciences.

Me and my friends had decided to go early into town to see what the atmosphere looked like on Christmas… An amazing sight greeted us: a massive Christmas tree right in the middle, wooden stores and shops with different items and souvenirs, restaurants and bars, as well as stunt performers… The atmosphere was entirely lit with joy.

This year, we already had the opening Christmas party, held by the Head of Department for the students in the Department of Material Sciences. It was an awesome event and, as usual, me and my friends decided once again to visit the Christmas market.

There are often events and shows, dancers and musicians to make your stay in the market memorable. While it was a good experience to meet everyone in my study specialty (Technology of wood and plastic), it was also an opportunity to interact, to play games, and to share study and living experience as foreign students living and studying in Estonia.

This was the first time I had the opportunity to experience a party organized and paid for by the department where I studied. But what really made the event unique were the friendly atmosphere, the good relationship between students and teachers, the interesting conversations together with the joy, laughter and smiles on everyone’s faces. This time around, I decided to lighten up the atmosphere by introducing games and bringing everyone together so as to make the occasion a memorable one.

While I am looking forward to the Christmas feast on Christmas Eve, I am still overwhelmed by the positivity at the party.

Unlike during the Christmas feast, at the party you get to meet, wine, dine, and interact with students from other disciplines and faculties. This turns into an amazing opportunity to make new friends, share experiences, and show one another the joy and the love that Christmas brings.

So far, it has been an overwhelming few days to Christmas. While I look forward to Christmas itself, I believe this experience all together is what makes the holiday truly memorable. I have attached some pictures from the last Christmas party. Enjoy the view, but please do not be jealous 😉