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Tartu to celebrate Estonian Independence Day with series of events

Estonian Independence Day in Tartu.
Estonian Independence Day in Tartu. Source: Tartu City Government

On Friday February 24, Estonia celebrates the 105th anniversary of its independence. To mark the occasion, a number of ceremonial events are set to take place in Tartu.

On Friday, everyone in Tartu is invited to attend the traditional ceremony in honor of the Estonian flag, which will begin at the Tartu Observatory at 10 a.m.

Events marking Estonian Independence Day will then continue in Town Hall Square (Raekoja Plats), with visitors also having the chance to take a closer look at some of the equipment used by the Estonian Defense League (Kaitseliit).

Below is a list of official events taking place in Tartu on Friday, February 24.

8.15 a.m. Wreaths will be laid at St. Paul's Cemetery and Raadi Cemetery in front of the monuments to those who died in the Estonian War of Independence.

9.15 a.m. The ceremonial procession of the Estonian Defense League (Kaitseliit)'s Tartu District and student organizations to mark the 105th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia will begin at the Kalevipoeg War of Independence Monument.

Tartu City Council Chair Kaspar Kokk (Isamaa), Chaplain of the Estonian Defense League's Tartu District Priit Tamm, and a representative of the city's student organizations will all deliver speeches at the ceremony.

10 a.m. A ceremony will take place at the Tartu Observatory in honor of the Estonian flag. Speakers at the ceremony will include Mayor of Tartu Urmas Klaas (Reform), Mayor of Tartu Rural Municipality Jarno Laur (SDE), Dean of the Tartu Diocese of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church and Pastor at St. Peter's Congregation, Ants Tooming, and Deputy Chair of the Estonian Students' Society Kristjan Raja.

11 a.m. In Town Hall Square (Raekoja Plats) a ceremony will take place involving members of the Defense League's Tartu District.

12 noon A folk festival will begin in Town Hall Square featuring the ensemble Lõõtsavägilased. Visitors will have the opportunity to take a closer look at the weapons and equipment used by the Estonian Defense League (Kaitseliit).

The event organizers recommend people bring an Estonian flag to the Independence Day events, though rest assured there will be plenty for everyone in case you leave yours at home.

Estonian Independence Day at the ERM

On Friday, there will also be activities for the entire family in Tartu at the Estonian National Museum (ERM).

The first Estonian flag, dating back to 1884, will be on display in the museum throughout the day, while visitors can also take part in flag searching game in the permanent exhibition "Encounters."

At midday and 2 p.m. there will be free guided tours (in Estonian) entitled "Meeting the real Estonian artists".

At 4 p.m. the Independence Day concert 'One Song, One Way' gets underway in the ERM's bridge area.

The concert is free of charge can also be seen live on the ERM website here.

The ERM's exhibitions, restaurant and museum shop will also be open on Friday as usual.

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Editor: Michael Cole

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