On 20 August, Estonia celebrates the 30th anniversary of the restoration of independence with many public events; Estonian World highlights some of the free events taking place in Tallinn.
Friday, 20 August
The Governor’s Garden by the Toompea Castle
At 7 am, the flag raising ceremony will be held in the Governor’s Garden by the Toompea Castle – the most symbolic building of the independent Estonia.
The speaker of the Estonian parliament, Jüri Ratas; the Estonian prime minister, Kaja Kallas; and the speaker of the Icelandic parliament, Steingrímur J. Sigfússon will deliver speeches and the archbishop of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church, Urmas Viilma, will say a blessing. (Iceland was the first country to recognise Estonia after it had restored its independence.)
Many academic associations and patriotic organisations will attend the ceremony and the music will be provided by the choirs of the Estonian Male Choir Association and the Estonian Police and Border Guard Orchestra.
The national tricolour at the Tall Hermann Tower will be raised by three generations of one family – Tõnu Saarman, one of the MPs who voted for Estonia’s independence from the Soviet Union on 20 August 1991, with his daughter and grandchildren have the honour.
At 3 pm, the festive concert, “The Spirit and the Power of Woman”, will begin in the Governor’s Garden.
The concert is dedicated to the Estonian women, who have carried the home, the homeland, the people and the nation through both the hard and the bright times.
Thirty female musicians – including Mari Jürjens, Liisi Koikson, Anne Veski, Liis Lemsalu, Lenna Kuurmaa, Kadri Voorand, Elina Born and Rita Rey – and the Academic Male Choir of Tallinn University of Technology will honour the free Estonia.
The Tallinn TV Tower
From 12 pm to 6 pm, a military-themed family day takes place at the Tallinn TV Tower.
In the courtyard of the TV tower, an exhibition of military equipment is displayed; a shooting range is open, and a demonstration battle is being fought by the members of the Estonian Defence League. The Estonian Rescue Board briefs people about fire and water safety rules and in the smoke tent, one can learn how to find a way out in the event of a fire.
An origami craft workshop is open to children.
Music is performed by Kolga students’ band Uurikad, song studio Un Canto, Laikre family ensemble and the band called Swingers. At 9:45 pm, there will be a display of fireworks.
The Salme Cultural Centre
At 2 pm, one of the most prominent Estonian singers during the Singing Revolution, Ivo Linna, and his keyboard player, Antti Kammiste, perform a special concert at the newly renovated hall of the Salme Cultural Centre in Põhja-Tallinn.
The Song Festival Grounds
From 7 pm until 12:30 am, the Tallinn Song Festival Grounds – the place where the Singing Revolution took place in 1988 – hosts a night song festival “Free Estonia”.
Many well-known Estonian pop artists as well as the National Symphony Orchestra and the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir will perform the local songs and music from the past 33 years.
The concert’s end will be marked with the fireworks in nearby coastal strip.
All events in restricted areas are accessible upon presentation of the COVID-19 certificate, so please arrive in time. Proof of vaccination, recovery or a negative test result (within the last 72 hours) can be provided both digitally and on paper.
Some events also offer free rapid testing on site. However, the organisers still urge people to ensure that everyone who wants to participate in the event monitors their health and arrives only if feeling well.
Cover: Estonian Song Festival Grounds. Photo by Aivar Pihelgas.