Estonia Victory Day

Estonia Victory Day

June 23
In light of the multiple times Estonia has lost its sovereignty, the independence celebration known as Victory Day bears special significance for citizens. This date commemorates the Battle of Vönnu in 1919, in which a joint force of Estonians and Latvians claimed a decisive victory against their Baltic German adversaries. The celebration falls a day before the same date as two time-honored celebrations, Midsummer Day and the St. John's Day (Jaanipäev in Estonian). As a result of the synchronicity of the festivals, various traditions and observances have melded together.
The military triumph in 1919 marked the end of 700 years of German control. The present-day government has framed the holiday as a celebration of Estonian freedom and sovereignty. The president and other dignitaries attend the official Victory Day ceremonies in the capital city, Tallinn. Festivities include a parade, a speech by the president, and a military review.
The holiday transitions from the political to the traditional when the president orders citizens to take torches from the official bonfire held in honor of Victory Day to light the hundreds of bonfires in the country that initiate Midsummer and St. John's Eve celebrations.
CONTACTS:
Estonia Embassy in Washington
2131 Massachusetts Ave. N.W.
Washington, DC 20008
202-588-0101; fax: 202-588-0108
www.estemb.org/embassy
Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Press and Information Dept.
Islandi Väljak
Tallinn 15049 Estonia
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