Let's rediscover parish colours during Estonia's centenary summer!

The Estonia 100 summer is parish striped

Our roots are in places which have their own names and bar codes – these are the names and colours of our home villages and parishes. Within these place-names and stripes lies a double code that unites the people of Estonia. Gathering, celebrating and doing things together are at the heart of the Estonia 100 summer. This is precisely why Estonian parish colours also symbolize Estonia 100's spring-summer events.



Where do Estonian parishes colours come from?

Our ancestors have valued the colours of their parishes and captured them in the skirts of their folk costumes. The arrangement of the stripes is not by chance and the colours also have their own meaning. Much red has been used, which was considered to have magical qualities, healing properties and the ability to ward off evil.

Various colours were obtained from forest plants and flowers, which people of old used to know and distinguish well. Parochial skirts were never similar to others and maintained their specific regional quality. This is also the case with our people, who may not always know their exact parochial origins, but are nevertheless connected to their roots and parentage. Parish colours thereby tell us about our history, origins, beliefs and the influence of local nature, all of which is beautifully recorded in the colours of Estonian folk costume skirts.

Which parish do I hail from?

Parishes continue to be the basis for Estonians' regional identity and people have an unceasing interest in their roots. To find your colours, you must start by finding your home parish. By clicking on the map below, you will find the borders and names of the former municipalities associated with churches – parishes. * Special thanks to Maa-amet (Land-Board of the Republic of Estonia) for the map below.


Every place is characterized by a specific range of colours, which is often reflective of local vegetation, but also the past colour preferences of the local people. Reet Piiri, curator at the Estonian National Museum, has put together the patterns and colours of selected skirts from the collections of the Estonian National Museum in the book "The Colours of Estonia's Parishes". This book is particularly helpful in finding your own colours.

On each page of "The Colours of Estonia's Parishes" there is an example of the parish's colours and patterns, as well as the corresponding colour codes. The book can be purchased from the following stores across Estonia: Rahva Raamat, Bauhof, Prisma, Selver and Apollo. The book can also be perused online.


How to give a colourful gift to your home area?

On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia, it is appropriate to colour everything in parish colours that needs some freshening up: a bus stop, mailbox, a fence or village bench, the door of a shed, flower boxes or a cupboard. 

In the book "The Colours of Estonia's Parishes", there is a colour scheme and codes for each parish colour combination.

The first two number combinations in each colour square are intended moreover for the printing industry and designers.

The bottom or third number corresponds to the colour according to the Tikkurila colour chart. These shades can be achieved with Vivacolor and Tikkurila paint products which can be purchased at construction stores all over Estonia. The colour codes have been chosen as close to the original skirt colours possible.

10 tips for painters

1. Choose a suitable product and shades for the surface. Get advice from someone working in the store's paint department, take time to read brochures, visit websites, livechat or to call the "Colour Line" at 12011.

2. Plan your work thoroughly. Think about how to get started, how to complete the project and what products to use. Calculate how much of every colour shade is required, buy the necessary accessories and tools. Check the shade beforehand on a small surface.

3. Use quality accessories. Regardless of the quality of the colour, it's not possible to achieve good results with poor tools. Store brushes and rolls in plastic bags and seal them properly, so you can re-use them the next day.

4. Wear suitable clothing and use other necessary protective equipment.

5. Cover the area around the item to be painted to protect it from detergent and paint spray.

6. Check that the surface to be painted is clean and strong. Do not take accessing the situation lightly, since for example, paint will not adhere to an unclean surface. A surface that is moldy must be cleaned and treated with an anti-mold agent and unpainted wood surfaces must be treated with a wood impregnator.

7. Carefully read the instructions for use of the paint. Stir the paints before and during use.

8. Work calmly and in a precise manner. Do not apply the paint too thickly.

9. Check that the conditions for painting are optimal. If you paint in a very humid, cold or hot environment, the paint will not dry as it should and will not form a uniform surface. Check the recommendations on the product label.

10. Clean your brushes and other tools with care. Save or get rid of paint residues in an environmentally-safe manner.

* Texts from on the book "The Colours of Estonia's Parishes" by Reet Piiri.


Let's record the parish-coloured Estonia

If you have given the gift of parochial colours to your chair, fence, or some other item in celebration of the centenary year, then share a photo of it at press@ev100.ee.

Let's create a rainbow-coloured picture gallery!