Independence Day (Estonia)

Independence Day
Vabariigi aastapäeva paraad.jpeg
Parade in Tallinn, 2011
Official nameEesti Vabariigi aastapäev
Also calledNational Day
Observed byEstonians
CelebrationsFireworks, Concerts, Parades
Date24 February
Next time24 February 2019 (2019-02-24)

Independence Day (Estonian: Eesti Vabariigi aastapäev) is a national holiday in Estonia marking the anniversary of the Estonian Declaration of Independence in 1918. It is commonly celebrated with fireworks, concerts, parades, and parties. It is the national day of Estonia.


The Estonian Provisional Government decided on 12 February 1919 to consider 24 February to be the date of the declaration of independence. In 1933, the Government discussed whether the national day should be moved to another date at a better time of the year, such as 15 June, to mark the date when the Estonian Constituent Assembly adopted the Constitution in 1920. Hugo Kuusner requested on 21 February 1937 that the anniversary of the Republic of Estonia should be 23 February, not 24 February. Gottlieb Ney, the director of the National Archives of Estonia said that "… one must reach the conclusion that the 24 February 1918 should be considered the date when the republic began; it is the day when the declaration of independence reached the capital city and actually went to the supreme powers of elected bodies (at that time the Estonian Salvation Committee and the provisional government)."

28 November 1917

On 28 November [O.S. 15 November] 1917 the Estonian Provincial Assembly met in Toompea Castle and proclaimed itself "Estonia's sole bearer of a higher power." The decision not to use the word "state" was adopted by 48 members of the Provincial Assembly present, with 9 abstentions (who were mostly socialist revolutionaries, along with a couple of Mensheviks). The Estonian Provincial Assembly called for Estonian soldiers to immediately and quickly come from all over Estonia. Some sources have referred this date to as "The Real Estonian Independence Day".

23 February 1918

On 23 February 1918 the Manifest of All Peoples was published in Pärnu which declared an independent and democratic Republic of Estonia.

24 February 1918

On 24 February 1918 it was published in Tallinn.

Parade, 1919

23 June 1919

On 23 June 1919 in the Estonian War of Independence, troops during the Battle of Võnnu defeated a German division. This event is celebrated in Estonia as the Day of Victory.

2 February 1920

On 2 February 1920, Estonia and Soviet Russia signed the Tartu Peace Treaty which made Estonia a de jure independent state.

16 November 1988

On 16 November 1988, the Supreme Soviet of the Estonian SSR adopted the Estonian Sovereignty Declaration, which asserted Estonia's sovereignty and the supremacy of the Estonian laws over the laws of the Soviet Union.

30 March 1990

On 30 March 1990, the Supreme Soviet of the Estonian SSR adopted the resolution "On The State Status of Estonia", whereby it declared Soviet rule in occupied Estonia to have been illegal since the start and declared a period of transition to restore the Republic of Estonia.

8 May 1990

On 8 May 1990, the Supreme Soviet of the Estonian SSR, during the last day of its existence, declared the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic invalid and re-established the Republic of Estonia. The government adopted a law on "the symbolism of Estonia" according to which Estonia's national colors are blue, black and white. Paragraphs 1,2,4,5 and 6 of the Constitution of Estonia stated that "Estonia – separate and independent state, the rule of power which is its people." Attempts to preserve the Soviet Union on the basis of a confederal agreement proposed by Moscow were rejected by the Estonian leadership.

20 August 1991

On 20 August 1991, during the attempted coup in Moscow by the hardline Communist Party members, the Russian 76th Guards Air Assault Division arrived in Tallinn. Volunteers organized protection of Toompea and the television broadcast tower. On The Popular Front of Estonia organized a rally in Freedom Square which called for the independence of Estonia. On the same day, late in the evening at 23:02, the Supreme Council of Estonia, along with the leadership of the Estonian Committee agreed an "On the independence of the Estonian state and the establishment of the Constitutional Assembly", thus proclaiming the restoration of Estonian independence.[1][2]