The Estonian tricolour celebrates its 100th year as the national flag

On 12 December, at 9:09 am, the 100th anniversary of raising of the blue-black-and-white flag as the national flag of Estonia on the Tall Hermann Tower was celebrated at the Governor’s Garden in Tallinn.

The chairman of the Estonian parliament, Eiki Nestor, said at the ceremony, “We will raise the blue-black-and-white flag on the tower with pride in our hearts, being happy that we have a free and democratic country. We hope and believe that it will be so until the end of times.”

“The colour of the blue Nordic sky gives us faith in bright future, black reminds us of the past of our nation and the soil and white leads the way towards the spiritual light for the people.”

An exhibition dedicated to the national flag of Estonia opened in the lobby of the parliament building on 12 December. In the renovated Governor’s Garden, an information board giving a short overview of the history of the Tall Hermann Tower, the procedure of raising and lowering the national flag and the meaning of the colours of the flag has been placed at the foot of the Tall Hermann Tower.

Introduced by the students

The origins of the Estonian flag lie within the national movement – the Estonian Students’ Society adopted blue, black and white as the colours of their student fraternity on 4 June 1884. In 1918, the flag officially became the Estonian national flag. The tricolour has since become one of the most important symbols in the independence, consciousness and solidarity of the Estonian people.

There are several interpretations of the national colours. According to the most popular one, blue represents the reflection of the sky in the lakes and the sea, symbolising endurance – “until the skies last”; black stands for the black greatcoat of an Estonian man or for the earth that feeds its people; white marks an aspiration towards light and purity.

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Cover: The national flag of Estonia on the Tall Hermann Tower.

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About the author: Sten Hankewitz

Sten Hankewitz is a lifelong journalist and Deputy Editor at Estonian World. Having lived in Estonia, Spain, the UK and all around the US, he now resides in Chicago, IL. He loves to write and besides working at Estonian World and doing some occasional blogging, he writes books and contributes to other outlets in Estonia, Israel and elsewhere. He has strong convictions and he shows them unashamedly. You can follow him on Twitter, like his page on Facebook or check out his personal blog. You can write to Sten at sten@estonianworld.com.