Independence Day events to be marked all-day Thursday

A previous Independence Day parade from 2019.
A previous Independence Day parade from 2019. Source: Anna Aurelia MinevERR

Thursday, February 24 marks the 104th anniversary of the establishment of Estonian independence, and ERR will be broadcasting throughout the day. This year, events are centered on the capital, Tallinn.

On February 24 1918, Estonia's independence was declared, becoming a de facto reality following the ensuing War of Independence and the signing of the Treaty of Tartu a little under two years later.

Solemnities take place through the day, a national holiday, while ETV will be covering most of the events.

Please note that February 23 is a half-day in Estonia, meaning you are legally required to halt work at lunchtime (if in Estonia); February 24 is a full national holiday.

The schedule is as follows (all times local) in Tallinn; events will also be held across Estonia.

Wednesday, February 23

10.30 a.m. President Alar Karis to attend wreath-laying ceremony at the Metsakalmistu cemetery in Pirita, resting place of many noted Estonian dignitaries.

9.00 p.m. main dress rehearsal for Thursday's parade in Freedom Square (Vabaduse väljak) featuring Estonian and allied military personnel.

Thursday, February 24

All the events below will be broadcast live by ETV (in Estonian), as well as by ETV+ (in Russian), with selected events also covered by Vikerraadio, Klassikaraadio and Raadio 4 (in Russian).

ERR News will also be covering the main events via galleries and scripts from speeches.

The national holiday starts at 7.32 a.m. with the flag-raising ceremony at the Governor's Garden (Kuberneri aed) adjacent to Toompea Castle in Tallinn. WATCH HERE.

The flag itself is raised from Pikk Hermann tower.

Riigikogu speaker Jüri Ratas will be giving the address, head of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church (EELK) Archbishop Urmas Viilma will lead the blessing and student Maarja Mõ will read out the original independence manifesto, while the Tallinn police orchestra and the Estonian men's association choirs (Eesti Meestelaulu Seltsi koorid) will provide the musical accompaniment.

The event is open to the public to a maximum of 5,000 outdoor attendees, who are to line Falgi tee, leading up the hill to Toompea. Large screens are to be provided so spectators can see the events properly.

9.00 a.m. Wreath-laying ceremony at the War of Independence monument in Vabaduse väljak (Freedom Square) attended by President Alar Karis, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas, Riigikogu speaker Jüri Ratas, the commander of the Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) Lt. Gen. Martin Herem and the commander of the Defense League (Kaitseliit) Brig. Gen. Riho Ühtegi. WATCH HERE.

10.15 a.m. Religious service at the Dome Church (Tallinna Piiskoplikus Toomkirik). WATCH HERE.

Presided over by Archbishop Urmas Viilma (EELK), representatives of all member churches of the Estonian Council of Churches (EKN) will also be in attendance.

12.00 p.m. EDF, Kaitseliit and allied parade in Freedom Square (Vabaduse väljak). WATCH HERE.

Units will line up from 11.15 a.m., while weather permitting, there will also be a flyover by allied and Estonian aircraft.

The parade is open to the public; spectators are kindly asked to maintain social distancing and wear a face-mask, while EDF and allied equipment will be on display in the square for members of the public to view.

6.40 p.m. Independence day broadcast on ETV starts, and is presented by Anu Välba and Mirko Ojakivi.

7.00 p.m. Independence Day Ceremony speech by Alar Karis, President of the Republic of Estonia, at the Estonia Theater in Tallinn, followed by the traditional concert.

Due to coronavirus restrictions, no presidential reception will be held this year.

ERR's streaming service, Jupiter, will also carry several appropriate films, serials and documentaries, including "Vabadussõja lugu" ("the story of the war of independece") and "Lipu heiskamine" ("the raising of the flag").

More information (in Estonian) on ERR's coverage of the day's events is here.


Follow ERR News on Facebook and Twitter and never miss an update!

Editor: Andrew Whyte

Hea lugeja, näeme et kasutate vanemat brauseri versiooni või vähelevinud brauserit.

Parema ja terviklikuma kasutajakogemuse tagamiseks soovitame alla laadida uusim versioon mõnest meie toetatud brauserist: