Christmas in Estonia: St. Thomas’s Day
St. Thomas’s Day, December 21, is considered the real start of the Christmas season. Old traditions dictate that householders complete the brewing of their Christmas ale on this day. The men of the household usually took charge of this chore. Folklore recommended that they attend to the brewing in the dead of night, in order to avoid the possible ruin that a neighbor’s evil eye could wreak on the brew. People drank so much beer at Christmas time that Estonians nicknamed the season "the beer holidays.” Householders readied large quantities of beer by St. Thomas’s Day, because tradition required that no further beer be brewed until Epiphany. Certain forms of work were prohibited from St. Thomas’s Day until the end of Christmas season. Some say that noisy forms of work, such as driving horses, spinning, and grinding, disturbed the spirits, who were particularly active during this time (see also ghosts).