Our beloved Estonia will soon be celebrating a very special occasion – in 2018, the Republic of Estonia will commemorate its 100th anniversary. All Estonians and friends of Estonia worldwide are invited to join in the celebrations.
No state is born in a day. The emergence of statehood was the result of the hard work of many, and there are numerous events in this story that merit recognition. Estonia’s 100th birthday celebrations will therefore be held over a much longer period than just one day. The celebrations will begin on 12 April 2017 to mark a century since Estonia’s administrative borders took their current form, will peak with the 100th anniversary of independence on 24 February 2018, will mark the key battles and victory in the War of Independence and draw to a close on 2 February 2020, one hundred years after the signing of the Tartu Peace Treaty in which Russia recognised the independence of Estonia.
We have much to celebrate. Despite our difficult history, Estonia today is a free, flourishing and innovative country, and we can look to the future with a sense of optimism. But Estonia’s 100th anniversary is not only a matter for the state or government, it is a celebration that belongs to us all. This is why everyone is invited to actively join in the festivities. Just how grand the celebrations will be will depend on all of our contributions.
The organizing committee in the Government Office is coordinating a number of nation-wide gifts, and the Estonia 100 international cultural programme will help promote Estonia in 2018 in various countries throughout the world. But anyone and everyone can also include an event or initiative in the Estonia 100 programme as a birthday gift to Estonia.
So what might be an appropriate gift? Any gift we give Estonia is really a gift to ourselves. We should think of what will make Estonia and Estonians stronger and more united. As the focus of the Estonia 100 celebrations is on children and youth, initiatives to help foster and maintain their ties with Estonia would be particularly welcome. For example, the village of Viskla in Estonia is building a swing park with one hundred traditional swings, and a group of Estonians inside and outside Estonia are working to develop a web application to unite Estonians throughout the world. But these are just two of the many gifts that are already being made with Estonia in mind.
You are all invited to post your gifts on the ev100.ee website where you can also invite others to contribute to your effort. All contributors will have the right to use the Estonia 100 logo which will be unveiled in the first half of 2016.
President Ilves has said, “let’s not divide Estonians into Estonians from Estonia and Estonians abroad. We are all Estonians, regardless of where we live.” Estonians today are truly global and there is a little piece of Estonia everywhere people hold it dear in their hearts. So let’s celebrate Estonia’s 100th birthday together, both in Estonia and throughout the world!
Everyone is invited and everyone is welcome!
Let’s Celebrate Estonia’s Centenary Together