First of all, Merry Christmas for those who celebrate it!
Seeing and speaking about beautifully decorated Christmas trees in shopping malls, main squares and the rest of public places, it reminds me of a visit to Tallinn in 2012. During the trip, my family and I took a day tour highlighting one of the most preserved medieval old town in Europe, the Old Town of Tallinn, which is listed in UNESCO Heritage Site.
Starting from Toompea Loss, we walked down the cobblestone street through Pikk Jalg Street, literally meaning “long boot”, to the lower side of the old town until we arrived at the main Town Hall Square, or Raekoja Plats.
What brought me attention the most then (and now) about the town hall is not really about the iconic Tallinn Town Hall nor the restaurants and cafes nearby (although I admit that the meat pastry at the underground cafe in front of the square was super lovely).
The tour guide showed us a circle spot on the cobbled surface street in the middle of the square, which is believed that it was where the first decorated Christmas tree to be erected and displayed in public, before other European countries do and perhaps the rest of the world.
It started in 1441 by the Brotherhood of Blackheads, a group of unmarried merchants, ship owners and foreigners founded in the mid 14th century. Since then, the ritual lives on after almost 600 years later. The main giant Christmas tree in Estonia’s capital is placed in the same spot every year, along with Christmas Market in the town square.
I came in July and there was no Christmas tree and Christmas Market yet. To recall myself what the circle spot stands for, my cousin DKLo posed as a Christmas tree instead.
Until now, some still argue about the truth behind the fact. Nonetheless, until it’s proven otherwise, I think we should thank the Brotherhood who initiated the brilliant idea, that has become one of the most preferred activities for both young and old generation during the festive season, no matter if the tree is displayed in public or just stays in a living room.