There are rabbits and then there are the city rabbits.
Every Christmas, Tartu welcomes its City Rabbit Toivo.
We don’t know much about what Toivo does in the summer, but as soon as there are the hints of cold weather, he’s right back in Tartu. He readies his best suits and meets with his partners in the Department of Communal Services of Tartu City Government.
Among other things, Toivo is in charge of coordinating the work of the commission tasked with choosing the Christmas tree. Toivo also checks the snowploughs, oversees the repainting of children’s favourite wooden merry-go-rounds and teaches Christmas carols to everyone working at the city government.
Luckily, Toivo comes from a family of celebrated skating rabbits. You could say Tartu is very fortunate indeed to have a rabbit like him, given that this is our first winter with an ice rink.
Toivo is renting a vegetable cellar in the city centre for winter, which means he’s often on Town Hall Square. In the Village of Light, children can practise reciting Christmas poems with Toivo and the city rabbit will reunite lost children with their parents. Toivo will also be providing information about the pony and horse schedules and spinning the merry-go-rounds. He also knows an unprecedented number of stories to tell to children, some of them are seated deep in our folklore, some… not so much. But hey, it is Christmas.
He always carries extra tissues in his pockets for runny little noses. If parents are, ahem, tired, Toivo will play tag with the children and always volunteers to be the chaser.