The White Lady of Haapsalu

1-august_2013-128When you are Estonian and you live in Haapsalu, everyone knows that you are sharing your hometown with the White Lady. The White Lady is our own ghost who has been living in the Castle walls for centuries and only on one August night when the full moon is in the sky, she appears on the window of the Chaple to seek for her lover. And for that rare appearance, our town has started a tradition of White Lady Days, when the whole main street is a big market, musicians are playing on different stages and in the back gardens, you can find small garden markets and theatre groups performing. All the cafes are full of people and at night you can go the see the performance which of course, takes place in the Castle Yard.

Of course, it is a romantic love story and who doesn’t like romantic love stories of beautiful sad girls, so the performance has been played in the Castle Yard from 1979 when Haapsalu had the 700th anniversary.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYears and years ago, when the Episcopal Castle of Haapsalu was the residence of the Bishop, there were only religious men, called Canons living there and it was not allowed to the women to enter the castle. But the Canons were young lads and so it happened, that on of them fell madly in love with an Estonian girl from the neighborhood. As they wanted to be together, they had made up a plan and the girl, dressed up as a choir boy, stayed in the castle, helped in the stables, sang in a choir, because she had a marvellous voice and at night time met her lover. For some time they were happy and safe but of course, their happiness was discovered and the church laws were very strict. So the poor girl was immured into the walls of the Chapel of the dome Church and the boy was thrown into the dungeons of the castle to starve to death. And every year, in August, when there’s full moon, she comes back and shows herself on the castle window to see if her lover has come. If you don’t believe it, you have to come and see it with your own eyes.

After every 2-3 years the play is changed, but the story stays the same – we have had 3-hour long performances with horses and houses on fire, we have had real fighting scenes, dance performances, a musical and now even a time travelling story. So it doesn’t matter, if you have seen one, the next time it can be totally different. And when the show is over, the crowd gathers under the Chapel window and starts to wait for the appearance of the shadow of the White Lady. 🙂 Haapsalu is quite like a Storybrook, you never know what you get here.

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