Nevertheless you could take an evening off, go for a walk in the nature, light a bonfire in a specially marked place! He was the saint people prayed to when they wanted protection from sudden death.
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On this day our ancestors foretold weather and crop yield. Farm animals were given some rest, and people watched the nature to set the timeframe for various farm works. Those who do not care about farming, could consider the following for planning their heating costs: if it is warm in the morning, autumn will be long and warm, but if it is cold in the night, there will be 40 more days of cold. However, unlike Germanic nations, Estonians gathered around bonfires just to have fun and get acquainted with people of their age and not to repel witchcraft and evil.
As 1 May is nowadays a national and bank holiday, you have a perfect opportunity to go to the countryside and sow peas and beans on your vegetable plot. They will grow to be delicious in the summer! If you do not have a plot of land, get your friends together, find a designated trekking path and enjoy the nature. Remember that bonfires can only be lit in specially marked places!
According to a legend, Saint Nicholas performed such a great good deed that he was considered worth commemorating twice a year. People would then go to church, light a candle for Saint Nicholas so that he would protect crops from cold. Setos also sowed wheat, oats and peas on this day and planted onions, which was supposed to ensure fair yield. What you should do is pay attention to the weather.
Then you can plan autumn chores. If it is cold, the autumn will be long and warm, and if it is warm and rainy, the autumn will be short and cold so you had better finish autumn chores quickly and then you can go home and crawl under a warm blanket. Folk wisdom says that once it hailed heavily in May. Similarly, you have to consider whether working at full throttle on this day will actually do more good than harm. If you take a break today, you might be able to do more tomorrow. One thing we do know is that it was considered to be a good day for sowing flax and oats. In church calendar, Ascension commemorates the Ascension of Jesus to heaven.
However, it was a very important day for our ancestors: though various taboos and rituals they showed reverence towards everything that grows on earth. Farm works, hunting and fishing were forbidden. In general terms, it was sensible to refrain from doing any work. You too should take a break from work even if for an hour if you cannot rest for the whole day. Take some time to be quiet. Wonderful ideas can emerge as the result! A saying goes that it was not worth planting cabbage after this day, but sowing buckwheat was recommended.
Holiday-makers, please note: sunny weather on Saint Vitus Day does not mean good luck; it means that summer will be poor. Maybe we should take some observations into account too so that we are not that dependent on weather forecasters: if a nightingale keeps singing late in the evening, autumn will come early and coldish; and if some sunlight can be seen, good hay making weather is to be expected.
All animals and people alike had to be blessed with light. And a huge bonfire had to be made. So we can give no other advice but for you to enjoy the longest and lightest night of the year next to the fire! Opinions vary as to what will happen if it rains on this day.
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It is believed in Kadrina that it will keep raining for seven weeks in a row, but the population of Sangaste thinks rain will only last for seven days. However the people of Kolga-Jaani expect consequences in the form of autumn rains.
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What can you say? Pay attention to weather this year and let us know too! In some areas of Estonia hay making would start, in other regions this day would mark the middle of hay making season, and somewhere else it was even believed that people had better take a break from haying on this day. All of that definitely depended on the weather. If there is no need for making hay, this is a good day for picking cloudberries. Try to ask older relatives and friends where you can find good cloudberry spots and go look for it on a marsh! And if you intend to dye yarn with natural ingredients, you should know that the plants gathered today will produce the most intensive colour.
There once lived seven brothers, who practiced their ancient Estonian faith, but when Germans came to plant their faith, the brothers refused to convert to it and were burnt for three days; their mother Maret later shared their fate. We must admit that people still pay attention to this sign and it has proven quite right.
Have you noticed whether the sun has been out today? However, folklore sources do not prove that version. What should you pay attention to today? If it rains, you are in for seven more weeks of rain, and if it does not, it will remain dry for another seven weeks.
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Although it is often the warmest in Estonia at the end of July, old people still believe that this day marks the beginning of late summer, when heat subsides and water becomes colder. All of the above means you should use what is left of the summer well! What can we recommend these days?
You could think about your ancestors and bake some delicious rye bread from scratch. This is when hay making is finished and the harvesting period starts. This day was also when girls started to gather to work together on Thursday and Sunday evenings, and the meetings took place until Annunciation in spring. They used to do handicraft and sing songs; sometimes young men and musicians would visit and then the evening became a dancing party. As half of the summer is actually still ahead, and nobody would like to start looking for the autumn coat, there is one old ritual that is supposed to guarantee good weather in August.
Namely, if you have a cat, this is the day to pet it well and give it fish and some sandwich. Then the cat is supposed to bring good weather for the harvesting season! The priest kept a part of the produce, and the other part was given to the poor. Get good local new potatoes at the market or from your own vegetable patch and buy a chunk of local meet or some other vegetables.
Make a pot stew and enjoy! Think about our ancestors who would have spent half a year waiting for such a blessing…. On this day water was blessed in the church during a prayer. There is nothing much to recommend to modern people for this day. Just think about what you can do to keep or natural water bodies cleaner…. Namely, eating apples and other fruit was allowed after Paschal Day. To make sure there is good yield, people brought apples to the church to give away and for blessing.
You too should check your garden today to see if any red-cheeked fruit is ready to be picked up. Also, you can safely buy local apples at the market starting from this day. It was considered better to refrain from anything to do with lighting fire on this day in early August: heating the kiln or the stove in the summer kitchen and even lighting a candle was forbidden because it could bring on a fire.
To avert danger, a sauna switch and a bucket of water were left on the stove for Saint Lawrence to take a bath. You should observe the fire restriction as well. Better safe than sorry! To be more precise, a folk belief states that rye sowing should be started three days before the Assumption. A break had to be made for the holiday itself; otherwise rye would be poor.
Sowing was allowed for other three days after the Assumption of Mary Day. We recommend gardeners reserve a lot of time and find some large baskets. They say that this day brings plenty of berries, which are very good for making delicious and comforting jam you can enjoy in winter. There is little information about it.
It is the time when ground frosts start, swallows begin leaving for the south, and cows yield less milk.
On the other hand, it is a good period to start gathering honey; nuts are ripening and lots of mushrooms grow. So this is the right time you grabbed your basket and went to look for good mushroom picking places. When you are in the woods, please remember that the nature is to be protected and respected. Otherwise you will have nothing to do there next year. Folklore has retained very little about the rituals traditional for this day.
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We only know that men named Ivan had to buy a bottle of drink because it was their name-day. Cutting vegetables was forbidden too. Well, what to say? Ivans and Jaans and anyone else can buy a bottle of drink. It is not specified if it is supposed to be hard liquor. We would rather recommend buying a bottle of good local juice. It will give you strength for the dark autumn that is about to arrive. This is all the information we have about it nowadays. So the only thing left to do is to find out what fairs are held in your closest neighbourhood on this day and start going.
You do not necessarily have to buy anything; just enjoying the atmosphere can be fun too. In some places going to the forest on this day was forbidden because the nature needed rest.