Victory Day in Estonia
Victory Day, known as "Võidupüha" in Estonian, is a national holiday in Estonia that commemorates the country's victory in the Battle of Võnnu during the Estonian War of Independence. This significant event in Estonia's history is celebrated annually on June 23rd.
Victory Day in Estonia was first celebrated on June 23, 1919, following the Battle of Võnnu, which took place from June 15 to June 23 of the same year. The Estonian forces, led by General Johan Laidoner, fought against the German Landeswehr and secured an important victory that contributed to the eventual independence of Estonia. After this battle, the Estonian flag was raised at the Pskov fortress, symbolizing the country's victory. In 1934, the Estonian Parliament declared Võidupüha as an official national holiday.
National customs for Victory Day in Estonia
Victory Day in Estonia is a time for the country to come together and remember the sacrifices made by their ancestors for the nation's freedom. The celebrations usually begin with a flag-raising ceremony, accompanied by the national anthem. Throughout the day, various events take place, including military parades, concerts, and public speeches by prominent Estonian figures.
In addition to the official celebrations, many Estonians use Victory Day as an opportunity to spend time with friends and family, often hosting picnics and barbecues. It is also common for people to visit the graves of fallen soldiers to pay their respects and leave flowers or candles in their memory.
Local customs for Victory Day in Estonia
While Victory Day is a national holiday celebrated throughout Estonia, some regions have their own unique customs and traditions. For example, in the city of Tartu, a traditional Victory Day relay race is organized, attracting participants from all over the country. In other towns and villages, local communities may organize their own parades or gatherings to commemorate the day.
Many Estonian cities also host various cultural events during the Victory Day celebrations, such as art exhibitions, theater performances, and historical reenactments. These events not only honor the sacrifices made during the War of Independence but also help to promote Estonian culture and heritage.
Victory Day is a significant national holiday in Estonia, marking the country's victory in the Battle of Võnnu and the sacrifices made during the War of Independence. With a mix of official ceremonies, family gatherings, and local customs, Estonians come together every year on June 23rd to remember their history and celebrate their hard-won freedom.