Government approves bill to create two new national flag days

The national flag of Estonia.
The national flag of Estonia. Source: Ardi Hallismaa/

A bill to add two new flag days to the existing total, both of them marking Estonia's cultural heritage, has been sent to the Riigikogu, after obtaining cabinet approval.

The Estonian Flag Act requires state agencies and local government, as well as legal persons under the understanding of public law, to display the blue-black-white on a flagpole on such days, while private citizens also often do the same.

The two new flag days fall on January 30, which will be Estonian literature day, and the quinquennial national song and dance festival (Laulu-ja tantsupidu) as well as its youth equivalents (Noorte laulu- ja tantsupidu).

The next national Laulupidu is in 2024.

As to other national literature flag day, culture minister Tiit Terik (Center) said:

"Literature is a link between the people and the generations, because it covers the whole nation, and different age and societal groups. 

The new flag day, January 30, was the birthday of one of Estonia's most famous literary figures, Anton Hansen Tammsaare (1878-1940).

Terik said: "Anton Hansen Tammsaare has been especially successful in [uniting society], and on his birthday, January 30, we will raise the national flag, read a few verses or two and consider how literature written in Estonian has affected us all."

The Tallinn literature center (Tallinna Kirjanduskeskus) actually proposed making January 30 a flag day.

Regarding the Laulupidu flag day, the minister said: "The Estonian flag has always been honored at song and dance festivals. This is an event where both the guests and the performers themselves will carry the Estonian flag expressing their respect and joy for this symbol. This makes it natural that we hoist the Estonian flags on the days of the main song and dance festival, as well as on the youth song and dance festival."

The proposal was submitted by the Estonian song and dance festival foundation (Eesti Laulu- ja Tantsupeo Sihtasutus). The main festival is held every five years, with the very first one taking place back in 1869.

Smaller and regional song festivals also take place at other times.

The bill to institute the flag days was approved at cabinet level on Thursday, and has been passed to the Riigikogu for processing and voting.

Assuming it passes its three readings, it will then go to President Alar Karis for his assent, before being enshrined in law.

Other flag days include Victory Day (June 23) and Jaanipäev, a day later, while tomorrow, Saturday June 4, is also on the list - in fact marking the actual, original consecration of the national flag, in 1884.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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