Ethnicity Day is celebrated on the third Saturday in October every year. This year, it takes place on October 19. The day aims to better inform the public of Estonia, with the country being a member of the Finno-Ugric nations, to value their origin, cultural heritage, and language more. Estonia is located in northeastern Europe and is the northernmost of the three Baltic states. Estonia’s land includes about 1,500 islands and islets. Ethnicity Day is a day dedicated to Estonia’s unique language and cultural identity, and national culture, and the day when Estonians think about other Finno-Ugric nations, introduce their languages and cultures and speak of their problems.
History of Ethnicity day
Foreign powers dominate a very large part of Estonia’s history. It was incorporated into the U.S.S.R. as one of its constituent republics in 1940 and remained a Soviet republic until 1991, when, along with the other Baltic states, it declared its independence. Estonia and the other Baltic states (Latvia and Lithuania) gained their independence from the Soviet Union on September 6, 1991, and soon joined the United Nations. Estonia then moved to transform its government into a parliamentary democracy and reorient its economy toward market capitalism. The country sought integration with greater Europe and in 2004 joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union (E.U.).
Compared to other European countries, Estonia has a large percentage of foreign-born residents. Ethnic Estonians make up about two-thirds of the population. Russians make up the most significant minority, comprising about one-fourth of the citizens. Ukrainians, Belarusians, and Finns are also prominent among other ethnic minorities. Some regional linguistic and cultural differences exist among ethnic Estonians. Notably, the Seto people in southeastern Estonia are part of an Eastern Orthodox religious tradition and speak a distinct dialect of Estonian. The islanders of the Muhu archipelago in the west also have their own dialect and share some cultural affinities with the people of Scandinavia.
Today the ethnic breakdown of Estonia is 69% Estonian, 25% Russian, 2% Ukrainian, 1% Belarusian, 0.8% Finns, and 1.6% making up other minorities. In 2011, the Estonian parliament approved a law stating that Ethnicity Day is celebrated on the third Saturday of October as a national holiday.
Ethnicity day timeline
Along with Latvia and Lithuania, Estonia is incorporated into the Soviet Union.
Estonia, alongside the other Baltic states, declares its independence from the Soviet Union.
In a bid to be better integrated with Europe, Estonia joins NATO and the EU.
Ethnicity Day is now observed on the third Saturday in October to appreciate the country’s diverse ethnicities.
Ethnicity day FAQs
When is Ethnicity Day celebrated in Estonia?
Ethnicity Day is celebrated on the third Saturday of October in Estonia.
When did Estonia declare its independence?
Estonia declared its independence in 1991.
What are the major ethnic groups in Estonia?
The major ethnic groups are Estonian (69%), Russian (25%), Ukrainian (2%), Belarusian (1%), Finns (0.8%), and Others (1.6%).
Ethnicity day Activities
Read a book
Learn about the history of Estonia and its various ethnicities by reading a book. You get to appreciate the culture more when you do this.
Visit a museum
Visit a museum to have a look at history in person. The culturally-rich history is sure to leave you wanting more.
Visit popular sites in Estonia
Take a trip with friends or family and visit some popular sites in Estonia. The wonderful landscape is a sight to behold and would make for a good road trip.
5 Interesting Facts About Estonia
Over 50% is covered by forest
The biodiversity in Estonia is astounding and one square meter of wooded meadow can be home to more than 70 different species.
Saaremaa has a prize-winning oak tree
An oak tree in Orissaare, Saaremaa won European Tree of the Year in 2015, with nearly 60,000 votes.
Estonia won the 2001 Eurovision Song Contest
Estonia won the 2001 Eurovision Song Contest to the surprise of many, even the Estonians.
Greatest number of start-ups per capita
Estonia is the 132nd smallest country globally, however, it has the most start-ups, with companies such as Skype and TransferWise coming out of Estonia.
The first country to practice online voting
Estonia started using online voting in 2005.
Why We Love Ethnicity day
It reminds Estonians of who they are
With the numerous ethnicities in Estonia, especially when compared to other European countries, Ethnicity Day reminds Estonians of who they are. It allows them to appreciate their heritage.
It celebrates different ethnicities
Ethnicity Day celebrates all ethnicities in the country. The diverse ethnicities and cultures are one of the things that make the country such a beautiful place.
It promotes tourism
Ethnicity Day showcases Estonia to the world. This in turn promotes tourism in the country and boosts the economy.
Ethnicity day dates