Estonian Song Festival

The Estonian Song Festival (in Estonian: laulupidu, Estonian pronunciation: [ˈlɑu.luˈpi.du]) is one of the largest choral events in the world, a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.[1] It is held every five years in July on the Tallinn Song Festival Grounds (Lauluväljak) simultaneously with the Estonian Dance Festival.[2] The joint choir has comprised more than 30,000 singers performing to an audience of 80,000.[2][3]

Estonian Song Festival
A moment before the opening of the 25th Estonian Song Festival (2009)
GenreChoral festival
VenueTallinn Song Festival Grounds
Location(s)Tallinn, Estonia
Baltic song and dance celebrations
CountryEstonia, Latvia, and Lithuania
RegionEurope and North America
Inscription history
Inscription2008 (3rd session)
XXVI Estonian Song Celebration in 2014
XIX Estonian Song Festival in Tallinn, 1980
Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves speaking at the XXVI Estonian Song Festival in 2014

Almost every Festival features famous Estonian songs "Ta lendab mesipuu poole", the unofficial national anthem "Mu isamaa on minu arm" and the national anthem "Mu isamaa, mu õnn ja rõõm".

History edit

The tradition of the song festival was born along with Estonian national awakening. The first national song festival was held in Tartu in the summer of 1869.[2] One of the organisers of the first song festival was Johann Voldemar Jannsen. In the first three festivals only men's choirs and brass orchestras participated. 822 singers and 56 brass players participated in the first festival. Starting with the fourth festival, mixed choirs were also participating. Starting with the sixth festival in 1896, the festival tradition moved to Tallinn.

Starting from 1947, the Soviet authorities forced foreign songs into the repertoire. Every event was to include the State Anthem of the Estonian SSR, The Internationale, and the State Anthem of the Soviet Union.[2] Because of the inclusion of children's and boys' choirs the total number of participants rose to 25,000 – 30,000 people. The Dance and Gymnastic Festival of the First Estonian Games started in 1934 became predecessors of later National Dance Festivals accompanying the song festival.[4]

In 2019, the number of visitors to the song festival reached its maximum. Nearly 60,000 tickets were sold from the pre-sale for the XXVII song festival "Minu arm"("My love") concert, and together with the 35,000 singers and musicians participating, a situation had been reached where the pre-sale of tickets was suspended by the decision of the organizers for the safety and security of people.

Song Festival Museum in Tartu

XXVIII Song Celebrations: ‘Kinship’ edit

The XXVIII Song Celebrations unite Estonians from diverse backgrounds, blending their talents into a vibrant tapestry of music and dance. Singers and dancers from every corner of the country converge, weaving a symphony of a million notes, steps, and hearts.

The 2025 festivities spotlight Estonia's language and dialects, embracing regional diversity and honoring cultural heritage. Under the artistic direction of Heli Jürgenson, the celebrations promise a captivating fusion of tradition and innovation. Helena Mariana Reimann leads choreography for the XXI Dance Celebrations, while Helin Pihlap guides the Folk Music Celebrations, ensuring a harmonious celebration of Estonian culture.

As Estonia prepares for this significant event, it sets the stage for an unforgettable experience—a tribute to the past, celebration of the present, and embrace of the future of Estonian identity through song, dance, and community.

List of Song Festivals edit

List of Song Festivals[5]
Song Festival Year Place Choirs Participants
I Song Festival 1869 Tartu 51 845
II Song Festival 1879 Tartu 64 1,272
III Song Festival 1880 Tallinn 48 782
IV Song Festival 1891 Tartu 179 2,700
V Song Festival 1894 Tartu 263 3,951
VI Song Festival 1896 Tallinn 410 5,681
VII Song Festival 1910 Tallinn 527 10,000
VIII Song Festival 1923 Tallinn 386 10,562
IX Song Festival 1928 Tallinn 436 15,049
X Song Festival 1933 Tallinn 500 16,500
XI Song Festival 1938 Tallinn 569 17,501
XII Song Festival 1947 Tallinn 703 25,760
XIII Song Festival 1950 Tallinn 1,106 31,907
XIV Song Festival 1955 Tallinn 893 30,321
XV Song Festival 1960 Tallinn 875 29,273
XVI Song Festival 1965 Tallinn 690 25,806
XVII Song Festival 1969 Tallinn 771 30,230
XVIII Song Festival 1975 Tallinn 641 28,537
XIX Song Festival 1980 Tallinn 627 28,969
XX Song Festival 1985 Tallinn 677 26,437
XXI Song Festival 1990 Tallinn 690 28,922
XXII Song Festival 1994 Tallinn 811 25,802
XXIII Song Festival 1999 Tallinn 856 24,875
XXIV Song Festival 2004 Tallinn 850 22,759
XXV Song Festival 2009 Tallinn 864 26,430
XXVI Song Festival 2014 Tallinn 1,046[6] 33,025[6]
XXVII Song Festival 2019 Tallinn 1,020 32,302
XXVIII Song Festival 2025 Tallinn N/A N/A

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Estonian song and dance celebration". Retrieved 16 October 2022.
  2. ^ a b c d Estonian Song and Dance Celebrations Estonian Song and Dance Celebration Foundation
  3. ^ Lauluväljakul oli teisel kontserdil 110 000 inimest (110,000 people in the Song Festival Grounds during the second concert. In Estonian). Delfi
  4. ^ Dance Festival – Invented Tradition? Archived 10 June 2007 at the Wayback Machine by Marika Plakso. Estonian Institute
  5. ^ "Peod aastani 2029" (in Estonian). Laulu- ja Tantsupeo SA. Retrieved 8 July 2014.
  6. ^ a b Uudiskirjad Archived 22 November 2015 at the Wayback Machine. Eesti Laulu- ja Tantsupeo SA.

External links edit