Festivals in Estonia
Estonian Song and Dance Festivals
Have you ever heard 18 000 voices singing at once?
This emotional experience can be felt during Estonia's Song Festival, which occurs once every five years in Tallinn. Once in five years, tens of thousands of Estonians gather in Tallinn in the summertime to take part in the Song and Dance Festival.
The song fesstival is an enormous open-air choir concert held at the Tallinn Song Festival Grounds with the participation of hundreds of choirs and thousands of singers. The number of participants in the Song Festival can reach up to 25 or 30 thousand, but the greatest number of people is on stage during the performance of the joined choirs—there are usually 18 000 singers on stage at that moment, and their powerful song touches even the most frigid Nordic disposition.
The first Estonian Games, Dance and Gymnastics festival, held in 1934, was the precursor of the present Dance Festival. One and a half thousand folk dancers performed there.
The Dance Festival is a complete performance with a certain theme. The dancers in their bright national costumes form colorful patterns on the dance field. The Dance Festival is usually held on the same weekend as the Song Festival. These two festivals commence with a united festive parade through the city from the centre of Tallinn to the Song Festival Grounds.
The largest Dance Festival of all time (the 9th) took place in 1970 with over 10 000 performers. By then a structure based on age groups had developed and performers included toddlers and seniors, the dancing veterans. The youngest dancer at this festival was 4 years old and the oldest 76! All the following festivals have had the optimal 8 000 performers.
In November 2003, UNESCO declared Estonia's Song and Dance Festival tradition a masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.