Public invited to Flag Day ceremony, visit Pikk Hermann tower on Saturday
June 4 marks the anniversary of the consecration of the original blue, black and white flag which was later adopted as the Estonian flag. To mark the occasion, the public is invited to a flag-raising ceremony at the Governor's Garden at Toompea Castle early Saturday morning, as well as to visit and climb the iconic Pikk Hermann tower itself that day.
Organized by the Board of the Riigikogu and the Estonian Flag Association, the flag-raising ceremony at the Governor's Garden will begin at 7 a.m. on Saturday, according to a press release.
The flag will be raised to the Estonian national anthem, assisted by representatives of Ida-Viru County's Aseri School and the Estonian Male Choir Association.
President of the Riigikogu Jüri Ratas (Center) and Estonian Flag Association chairman Jüri Trei will also deliver remarks at the ceremony, and Archbishop of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church (EELK) Urmas Viilma will give a blessing.
Also lined up will be color guards from the Guard Battalion, Estonian Defense League (Kaitseliit), Estonian Women's Voluntary Defense Organization (Naiskodukaitse), Young Eagles, Home Daughters, scouts, guides, schools and academic as well as patriotic organizations.
The Estonian Military Orchestra will provide music during the Saturday morning ceremony, and choirs of the Estonian Female Song Society and Estonian Male Choir Association will sing "Hoia, Jumal, Eestit" and "Eesti lipp."
Pikk Hermann, the iconic southwestern defense tower of Tallinn's Toompea Castle, will be open to visitors from 11 a.m. through 5 p.m. In order to avoid overcrowding, visitors will be provided with free but scheduled tickets for visiting the tower.
Originally a fraternity flag
Flag Day in Estonia is celebrated on the anniversary of the consecration of the blue, black and white flag of the Estonian Students' Society (EÜS), the first dedicated ethnically Estonian fraternity, founded in 1870.
The original flag, which is now on permanent display at the Estonian National Museum (ERM) in cooperation with EÜS, was sewn in spring 1884 and consecrated in Otepää on June 4 that year.
While it was not formally adopted by the Riigikogu as the national flag of the Republic of Estonia until the passing of the State Flag Act in June 27, 1922, the the blue, black and white tricolor had already gained popularity and de facto use as an Estonian symbol during the decades prior.
Blue, black and white flags were present at the first readings of the Estonian Declaration of Independence in Pärnu on February 23 and in Tallinn on February 24, 1918. The tricolor was first raised atop Pikk Hermann for the first time just one day later.
This year marks the 138th anniversary of the original blue, black and white flag.
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Editor: Aili Vahtla