Each year, February 24th is marked by fireworks, concerts, a parade of the Defence Forces and a presidential reception. Children and adults can admire military units, and rejoice to the music of the orchestras of the Defence Forces, Police and Border Guard, and the United States Air Force. Following the parade, the Estonian president usually gives a televised speech and bestows state decorations to guests of honour at a national reception.
103 Independence Day festivities in Estonia in 2021
Because of the ongoing pandemic, most of the traditional celebrations are happening differently this year.
President Kersti Kaljulaid's reception and gala concert that were supposed to take place in Tartu on February 24, have been cancelled. However, everyone can watch the Head of State's speech and take part of the concert via television, as there will be a full-day ERR television program dedicated to the Estonian Independence Day.
Everyone can also watch the ceremonial hoisting of the national flag at the Tall Hermann Tower at 7.32 AM via the ERR broadcast. This time, only speakers and representatives of academic organizations will attend the ceremony in the Governor's garden. Traditional crowds are not expected to fly the flag on Toompea this year. Instead, people are invited to hoist the national flag at home at sunrise.
The parade of the Defence Forces is also not happening in 2021 but all Estonians can listen to the speech of the Commander of the Defence Forces via ERR. Wreaths will still be placed at the foot of the Victory Column of the War of Independence on Vabaduse Square.
The usual parts of the evening's presidential reception - the speech of the Head of State and the performance - will reach everyone through ERR, with no guests invited to the spot. In 2021, Estonians are encouraged to celebrate the Independence Day at home, and we invite you to celebrate Estonia's birthday with us. Let's sing, eat sprat sandwiches and do other things Estonians do on this happy day!