Events & Traditions celebrated in the park
ST.GEORGE’S NIGHT PARK (in Estonian: Jüriöö Park, JP) is a historical place where several Estonian celebrations and ceremonies take place. In all major events the military orchestra performs the Estonian National anthem and other topical music, Guard of honour secure the main path and main symbols. Freedom Fire is ignited with a salute of rifles. Most of these traditions were established during the first period of the Republic of Estonia.
Modern traditions include an annual ceremony of recognition, where persons who have remarkable merits in favour of fostering the development of JP or fostering the level of general patriotism, are awarded with JP decorations. There is also a tradition held every year in April, just before the anniversary of St. George’s night, called the Estonian Defence League Shooting Competition ’’Jüriöö karikas“ (in English: St. George’s Night Cup).
Major annual events in St. George’s Night park (JP):
- Anniversary of Tartu Peace Treaty, 2nd February (in Estonian: Tartu Rahu) – wreath ceremony at the monument of War of Independence, patriotic speeches to remember the events, heroes and their values to Estonia.
- Independence Day of the Republic of Estonia, 24th February – patriotic speeches and outdoor reception to veterans and to all gathered guests (traditional soup and hot tea is served in the court of the Susi Hotel).
- St. George’s Day, 23rd April – the mayor of Tallinn lights a torch in front of the town hall and sends it to the park with a group of equestrians. The torch is used to light the main Freedom Fire in the park.. This rite is followed by patriotic speeches to remember heroes and their actions. Best shooters of the Defence League Shooting Competition named St. Georges’ Night Cup are awarded with medals and trophies.
- Victory Day, 23rd June – the torch sent by the President of Estonia is used to light the Fire of Freedom, patriotic speeches and reception for spectators (traditional soup and hot tea). Also lightning up of the torches which take the Freedom Fire to every district in Tallinn, where local midsummer fires are lit later in the evening.
- Guard Battalion recruits’ oath ceremony – in every season, after finishing the first period of service, new recruits from Guard Battalion give the Estonian soldiers official oath. The ceremony is attended by the staff of the unit, the military orchestra, officials from the city administration, the representative of the St. George Night Park and by the family members and friends of the soldiers.
Through the years the Park has hosted several other events: Commemoration Ceremony for the Fallen Heroes (organized by the Association of the Estonian Front-line Soldiers); Opening Ceremony of the International Military Competition ERNA RAID ( http://www.erna.ee/en/); Ceremonies of the Military Parades etc.