The winds of change move constantly over the Baltic region, bringing darkness and light in rhythmic succession. For the Estonian people, they’ve seen this before and have weathered the storm, relying on their most basic of traditions to steer them.
The Estonia Song and Dance Celebration is held every five years at the Grounds in Tallinn. It is a celebration of friends and family, heritage and culture, and most importantly, freedom of expression.
Through years of occupations and foreign rule, the people of Estonia relied on music to preserve their heritage. Song and dance celebrations are an important tradition for Estonians and part of their national DNA. Though the festivals have taken place regardless of foreign occupation, music has been a key part of protest over the years as well as an expression of love, unity, and a need for freedom and sovereignty. During the “Singing Revolution” in 1988, hundreds of thousands of people gathered in the Song Celebration grounds to demand Estonia’s independence from the Soviet Union by singing patriotic songs. Faced with similar festivals in the neighboring Baltic States of Lithuania and Latvia, the Soviet Union responded with military intervention and celebrants were killed. However, no blood was shed in Estonia.
Estonia regained its independence in 1991.