February 24th, birthday of a nation

Source: Marek Kusmin Flickr

February 24th, birthday of a nation

Each year on February 24th, The Republic of Estonia celebrates its Independence Day. Festivities are already gearing up for the big celebration.

Roughly 100 years ago, the Estonian people were caught in a battle for independence from the Russian Empire, from 1917 to 1920. The most significant day was February 24th, 1918, on which Estonia declared statehood, which is commemorated as a national holiday.

First Independence Day

Celebrations on the Freedom Square in Tallinn on the one year anniversary of independence on February 24th, 1919.  

Photo by: Wikimedia Commons

The dream of sovereignty

Throughout centuries of rule by foreign powers, Estonians never lost sight of becoming an independent state. On February 23th, 1918, in the wake of the Russian Revolution, the Manifesto to the Peoples of Estonia declaring Estonia a sovereign nation was announced from the balcony of the Endla Theatre in Pärnu. The crowd below erupted into a rendition of what would become the national anthem Mu isamaa, mu õnn ja rõõm (My Fatherland, my Happiness and Joy). The following day, on February 24th, the manifesto reached Tallinn and was published, marking the birth of the Republic of Estonia.


Did you know?

The Estonian and Finnish national anthems share the same melody, composed by Fredrik Pacius. The Estonian lyrics were added in 1869 by Johann Voldemar Jannsen and the title means "My Fatherland, my Happiness and Joy".

Photo by: Guillaume Speurt

Each year February 24th is marked by fireworks, concerts, a parade of the defense forces and a presidential reception. Children and adults can admire military units and rejoice to the music of the orchestras of Defence Forces, Police and Border Guard, and the United States Air Force. Following the parade, the Estonian president, Kersti Kaljulaid, will give a televised speech and bestow state decorations to guests of honour at a national reception.

102 Independence Day festivities across Estonia in 2020:

Flag raising ceremony in Tallinn

Celebration of the anniversary in Tartu

A celebratory hike in the nature 'Republic of Estonia 102 – To the Republic!' 

You're invited

Estonia 100, the centenary initiative, welcomes Estonians abroad as well as curious travellers to take part in the festivities!

Photo by: Visit Estonia 
Last updated : 21.02.2020

In category: Tallinn, History & culture