Christmas windows framed in dough Estonian Life
Kultuur 23 Dec 2017 EL (Estonian Life)Eesti Elu

A kesk/aja (medieval) feast is one of the countless sculptures and 3-dimensional sculptural scenes made entirely of pipar/koogi/tainas (gingerbread dough) that can currently be seen through the giant vaate/aknad picture windows of the Disaini- ja Arhitektuuri/galerii on the main Pärnu maantee thoroughfare in central Tallinn. No moving dolls or theatrical lighting and not much for sale (except of course pipar/koogid), but this home grown idea called "PiparkoogiMaania" has been a beloved annual jõulu/traditsioon for 12 years running, attracting huge crowds.

This year's theme is Vana (old) Tallinn and there are replicas of churches, the famous Vana Toomas tuule/lipp (weather vane), a dragon-head gargoyle vee/süliti (water spout), katku/mask (plague doctor mask), ukse/koputid (door knockers) and other vanalinna (Old Town) treasures.

With no stately, old department stores like Hudson's Bay or Macy's, kids in Eesti don't have the tradition of marvelling at big city animated Christmas window displays, although the closest examples are not far away in Helsinki (Stockmann) and Stockholm (Nordiska Kompaniet (NK) and Åhléns).

In the photo, you can see lights shining on the Draama/teater across the street, above the admiring faces contemplating stepping inside to be a mutter masina/värgis (bolt in the machinery) or outright actor within the artworks of the Christmas window display. No lack of old-fashioned jõulu/maagia (Christmas magic) here either. Photo and text: Riina Kindlam, Tallinn (See more at