NPO Varnja Family Association

The NPO Varnja Family Association, which was formed by local village residents in 2000, began actively operating in mid-2001. This voluntary association of residents of the shoreline of Lake Peipus aims to organise joint activities for residents and to pass the traditions of Russian Old Believers on to younger generations. In this way the association involves children and young adults in its activities. The founding of the association was prompted by the villagers’ wish to enliven association activities in the village and create a beautiful village in which people enjoyed relaxing and taking breaks. In order to preserve history the Varnja Living History Museum was established in 2002, to which residents donated clothing and other items. The Fishermen’s Museum was set up in 2005, since the profession has always been held in esteem along the shoreline of Lake Peipus.

The association provides entertainment and cultural activities for people of different ages (from children to the elderly) to enjoy during their free time. The most popular event is the Christmas celebrations (Рождество Христово) on 7 January. There is a Fisherman’s Day in mid-July and an onion and cranberry fair in early September. During the Tsarist era the Old Believers’ fair in Varnja was known far and wide, with merchants from many parts of the empire visiting Varnja to stock up on their supplies of onions and cranberries. The traders set out their finest goods on tables lined up along the village streets, where there was also a samovar from which the valued visitors were served tea.