Independence Day in Estonia is a public holiday on February 24 each year. Independence Day is also Estonia’s national day that marks the anniversary of the Declaration founding the Republic of Estonia on this day in 1918. Estonia is a country in Northern Europe that borders the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Finland. Home to more than 1,500 islands, Estonia’s diverse topography spans rocky beaches, old-growth forests, and many lakes. Tourists visit Estonia to see castles, churches, and hilltop fortresses. Estonia is home to some 1.3 million people. Estonians celebrate Independence Day with parades, concerts, and parties.
History of Independence Day Estonia
On February 24, 1918, Estonia issued a declaration of independence. This was done by the new Soviet Russia, which was followed by a war with the Soviets to ensure Estonian liberty. After two years, on February 2, 1920, the war ended with the Tartu Peace Treaty. The treaty guaranteed Estonia’s independence for all time. However, the treaty would not be honored, and the Soviets went on to break this pact. This would lead to Estonia being under Soviet control for the next 50 years.
In August 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. The pact’s protocol divided Eastern Europe into spheres of influence, and Estonia was handed over to the Soviet sphere. During this time, the Soviet’s ‘Russification’ policy meant the Estonian flag and other national symbols were forbidden. In fact, local languages were restricted and Russian was made the country’s official language.
In 1991, Estonia re-established its sovereignty after the peaceful Singing Revolution against Soviet rule. This was a unique revolution where music was used as a tool of resistance and a declaration of intent. Estonians start their Independence Day at sunrise with the traditional flag-hoisting on Toompea, a hill in the capital, Tallinn. This is followed by the military parade in Freedom Square, an open-air free concert in central Tallinn, and the President’s reception in the evening. Meanwhile, in other Estonian towns, the flag is hoisted at public and private spaces in the morning, which is followed by church services and attending local celebrations. The current flag of Estonia was adopted after independence from Russia in 1918.
Independence Day Estonia timeline
Estonia experiences an economic crisis due to a lack of technological differences.
The discovery of phosphorite mines triggers a ‘phosphorite war’ to protect the environment.
Common men and creative unions come together to fight Soviet powers.
Estonian politicians declare the nation’s independence during a coup attempt in Moscow.
Independence Day Estonia FAQs
How do Estonians celebrate Independence Day?
Estonians start their Independence Day at sunrise with the traditional flag-hoisting on Toompea, a hill in the capital, Tallinn, and in other Estonian towns in the morning and progress through the day with church services, parades, parties, and concerts.
How did Estonia gain independence from the Soviet Union?
On August 20, 1991, the Estonian Parliament adopted a resolution confirming the independence from the Soviet Union. On September 6, 1991, the State Council of the U.S.S.R. recognized the independence of Estonia, immediately followed by the international recognition of the Republic of Estonia.
Is Estonia part of the E.U.?
Estonia has been a member country of the E.U. since May 1, 2004. The Estonians comprise 0.3% of the total E.U. population.
How to Observe Independence Day Estonia
Wish your Estonian friends
Do you have friends or colleagues from Estonia? Celebrate Independence Day in Estonia by wishing them and congratulating them on their nation’s hard-fought freedom.
Celebrate Estonian food
On Independence Day in Estonia, treat yourself to some famous Estonian dishes. These include spicy sprats snacks, pea soup with smoked pork hock, and Estonian potato salad.
If you can, book a vacation to Estonia. The country boasts some splendid fortresses, churches, and castles. If that is not possible, hit google and travel virtually.
5 Facts About Estonia That Will Blow Your Mind
Public transport is free
Public transport is free for every Estonian in every town of the country.
You can vote online
Estonia was the first country in the world to allow its citizens to vote online in 2005.
The Euro became the national currency in 2011
Before adopting the Euro in 2011, the Estonian currency was the ‘kroon.’
Estonians are business-savvy
The country has the highest number of startups per capita in Europe.
The least religious country in the world
Only 16% of its population was found to be religious in a 2005 poll.
Why Independence Day Estonia is Important
It celebrates Estonia’s culture
Estonian Independence Day celebrates the nation’s rich culture. Through celebration carnivals, celebrations, and parades, we get to witness Estonia’s culture.
An important part of modern history
It’s been only 30 years since Estonia’s total independence. The day marks a significant part of modern history and encourages us to learn more about such events.
A day to learn more about Estonia
You might have heard of Estonia but how much do you really know about its history, food, arts, and culture? Estonian Independence Day helps us find out more about the country.
Independence Day Estonia dates