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Public Holidays & Flag Days

On public holidays people get a day off and all establishments, public or private, hoist the national flag.

The most important public holidays in Estonia

February 24 – Independence Day (iseseisvuspäev or Vabariigi aastapäev) is dedicated to the the declaration of independence in 1918, the document that founded the Republic of Estonia. A military parade takes place in a different city each year, and the head of state holds a lavish reception honoring several hundred of the most prominent people from all walks of life.

April 3 – Good Friday (suur reede) – Almost uniquely in Europe, Estonia doesn’t give a day off for Easter Monday. But Good Friday, a key day in Easter celebrations, is a holiday.

April 5 – Easter Sunday (ülestõusmispüha). Apart from celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Easter is celebrated in the country’s folk calendar as a spring holiday to welcome the arrival of a brighter and warmer season. There is also an old tradition of decorating eggs by boiling them wrapped in onion peels or painting the eggs in vivid colors. An egg knocking competition follows: whoever breaks the shell of the competitor’s egg without cracking their own is crowned the winner.

June 23 – Victory Day (võidupüha)  honours the Estonian victory over the German forces (led by the Landeswehr) during the Estonian War of Independence in the Battle of Võnnu on June 23, 1919. There is also a military parade.

June 24 – St. John’s Day (jaanipäev), also known as Midsummer Day, is celebrated on the night of June 23, close to the solstice when the white nights are shortest. Estonians all around the country gather with their families and friends in celebrations most associated with bonfires.

August 20 – Day of Restoration of Independence (taasiseseisvumispäev). The dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 led to the three Baltic states regaining their independence.

December 24 – Christmas Eve (jõululaupäev). The main Christmas celebration for Estonia’s Lutherans falls on the 24th, as in most of Europe. Before repairing to table for hearty fare such as roast pork or goose and sauerkraut, Estonians often take time in the early evening to visit the departed in forested cemeteries.

December 25 – Christmas Day (esimene jõulupüha)

December 26 – Boxing Day (teine jõulupüha)

 

Days with national significance

You won’t get a day off, but you are likely to either hear from your colleagues or read in the media about related events. These are days important for the Estonian nation, either for remembrance or celebrating its culture, language and identity.

6 January – Epiphany (kolmekuningapäev). A Christian holiday, mainly celebrated by the Russian Orthodox minority in Estonia.

February 2 – Anniversary of the Tartu Peace Treaty (Tartu rahulepingu aastapäev). Signed on 2 February 1920 in Tartu between Soviet Russia and Estonia, the treaty finally recognized the independence of Estonia.

March 14 – Native Language Day (emakeelepäev). The anniversary of the first poet writing in the Estonian language, Kristjan Jaak Peterson, is celebrated as Native Language Day by 1.1 million Estonian speakers.
May 10 – Mother’s Day (emadepäev). Mothers receive special attention, getting flowers and cards and heart-felt messages.

June 4 – National Flag Day (lipupäev). The Estonian tricolor flag was first consecrated as the flag of the Estonian Student Society on 4 June 1884 in Otepää.

June 14 – Day of Mourning and Commemoration (leinapäev). On 14 June 1941, the first mass deportation from the Baltic states took place. Over 10,000 Estonians were deported to Siberia by the Soviet authorities.

August 23 – Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism (kommunismi ja natsismi ohvrite mälestuspäev)

October 17 – Tribal Day (hõimupäev). Estonia’s place in the Finno-Ugric family of nations is celebrated. It is a day for cherishing Estonia’s unique linguistic and cultural identity, thinking about other Finno-Ugric peoples and introducing their languages and cultures.

November 2 – All Souls’ Day (hingedepäev). An old folk tradition, the day signifies the belief that the souls of the dead visit their former homes. People usually place candles on windowsills.

November 8 – Father’s Day (isadepäev). Fathers’ turn to receive heart-felt messages and to be reminded about their role in society.

 

Flag days in 2015

February 2 – Anniversary of the Tartu Peace Treaty (Tartu rahulepingu aastapäev)

February 24 – Independence Day (iseseisvuspäev)

March 14 – Native Language Day (emakeelepäev)

April 23 –Veterans Day (veteranipäev)

May 10 – Mother’s Day (emadepäev)

June 4 – National Flag Day (lipupäev)

June 14 – Day of Mourning and Commemoration (leinapäev)

June 23 – Victory Day (võidupüha)

June 24 – St. John’s Day (jaanipäev)

August 20 – Day of Restoration of Independence (taasiseseisvumispäev)

September 1 – Day of Knowledge (teadmistepäev)

October 17 – Tribal Day (hõimupäev)

November 8 – Father’s Day (isadepäev)