150th anniversary of Estonian Song Celebration

Estonians have their own kind of love for singing. If you get to know Estonian history a little, then you’ll understand soon, why. Estonians are celebrating this year these 150 years that have passed from the first ever Song Celebration in Tartu, Estonia. This Song Celebration festival tradition started in 1869. That year, more then 800 singers and musicians gathered in Tartu to sing beautiful and meaningful songs of our fatherland. Estonia had not achieved it’s independence yet and many people believe, that this was the biggest step going towards it. This festival brought people together. Estonians were a small group of people, but on that day at the first Song Celebration, they felt like they had become one big, meaningfull nation, that was capable of anything. 

Song Celebration festival grew every year and soon turned out to be the most important and biggest traditional event in Estonia for many people. From 1994 the Song Celebrations takes pace in every 5 years at Tallinna Lauluväljak. Inbetween those 5 years we also have Estonian Youth Song- and Dance Celebration. The purpose of the celebration remains the same, but the participants are younger generation of Estonia. 

Singing and dancing have always been a great duo, that’s why estonians added Dance Celebration to the plan. So right now we have two big Celebrations in one week in every 2 or 3 years when we count in the Youth Celebration as well. These Celebrations have grown a lot through the years, Song Celebration reached 30 000 singers attending in all kinds of different choires in 2014. In three days of beautiful dancing shows and concerts over 150 000 people visited the festival. This Dance- and Song Celebration really means a lot for estonians. 100 000 people singing together songs about the fatherland is something a bit different. It usually gets emotional, but at the end of the day, it bring people together to forget their everyday life and to have a wonderful time with the rest of the estonians.

The 27th song and 20th dance celebration My Fatherland is My Love will take place in Tallinn from July 4–7, 2019. The Song Celebration always starts with an procession – this year from the Freedom Square. All the people singing/dancing during this Celebration will take part. The choirs and dancegroups are divided by counties. The traffic is closed in the city center that day and everybody are outside to greet the participants. Over the 5 km walk till the Tallinn Song Festival Grounds people have time to sing, dance and greet the people, who have come down to the streets to take part of the celebrations. The procession is being followed by numerous concerts and shows. The whole Festival is being showed on live television.

Photo: Aivar Pihelgas, Visit Estonia

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