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Estonia 100: Finland flies flag, sends love for neighbour's centennial

Estonia celebrates its 100th year of independence on Saturday. Ambassador Margus Laidre and Finnish individuals alike are sending their regards and speaking on behalf of camaraderie and friendship.

Kuvakollaasi Viron lipusta ja Tallinnan siluetista.
Palju õnne iseseisvuspäevaks, Eesti!

Finland is celebrating the centennial of Estonia's independence by flying flags from dawn till dusk on Saturday.

The Interior Ministry instructs all government offices and institutions across the country to observe the special day by flying the Finnish flag, and encourages individual Finns everywhere to fly the colours in their homes, apartment buildings, businesses or other spaces.

Finnish institutions and churches are to celebrate the centennials of all three Baltic states this year. The Finnish flag last flew in commemoration of Lithuania's Independence Day on February 16th, and will again on November 18th when the Republic of Latvia turns 100.

The Yle broadcast tower in Pasila was also briefly lit in white, black and blue, the colours of Estonia's flag.

Ambassador lauds grass-roots friendship

Estonia's Ambassador to Finland, Margus Laidre says he wishes that Finns and Estonians could deepen their already warm relationship. Cultural exchange between the two neighbours is frequent, but many only catch a glimpse of the other's rich lives and heritage.

"This friendship needs deepening," Laidre says. "Finns visit Estonia to shop and to go to spas, theatres and concerts. Estonians travel to Linnanmäki amusement park and take in the city, and above all move to Finland to work. But we rarely actually talk with each other."

Laidre says that both countries need friendly neighbours, for the pure joy and edification of connecting with people from another culture – but also for support and backup in dire times.

"I may be naïve, but I believe that grass-roots contacts are the most important thing to have if dark clouds should amass on our shared horizons. Politicians who have a hard time drawing lines or making decisions can see us together, saying we know each other, there are friends here, and be affected by that camaraderie."

Finns congratulate Estonia with personal messages

Some Finnish individuals are also being swept along by Estonia's special day, as hundreds post pictures online congratulating the neighbour to the south.

Yle asked readers to send in a photo or letter with a congratulatory message, and more than 350 people responded with fond anecdotes and placards bearing the message palju õnne! or "Congratulations!" in Estonian.

"Who wouldn't fall in love with Estonia," says one Sirpa in her message. "Estonian cheerfulness, creativity and positive attitudes always delight me. Estonia has done more in 25 years than some countries manage in a century. Long live Estonia!"

See below for a selection of the picture messages that people sent in.

A-P onnittelee Viroa.
Outdoor congrats from A-P. Image: A-P

Eeva- kaarina Harju onnittelee Viroa.
Eeva-Kaarina Harju congratulates her dear Estonian friends. Image: Eeva-Kaarina Harju

Lapivana toivottaa onnea satavuotiaalle Virolle.
"Lapivana" is even sporting an Estonian t-shirt. Image: Lapivana

Aakusti also thanks Estonia in his message. Image: Aakusti

Suomen suurlähetystö Washingtonissa
The Finnish Embassy in Washington took a group photo to congratulate the 100-year-old Estonia. Image: Suomen suurlähetystö Washingtonissa

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