The Estonian Independence Day celebrations include a national joint hug named 'HUG at 8.19'Published: 20.02.2019

On 24 February at 8.19 p.m. (20.19 on the 24-hour clock), the Estonian Independence Day will be celebrated with a national joint hug named 'HUG at 20.19', encouraging Estonians to congratulate each other in honour of the Independence Day. The tradition of the joint hug began on the 100th birthday of Estonia, when people hugged each other at 8.18 p.m. (or 20.18).

'Let all of us take this one minute of the year to appreciate and hug our loved ones to thank them for the time that we have spent together,' said Jaanus Rohumaa, Head of the Organising Committee of Estonia 100, today at a press conference for the Independence Day events. 'On the anniversary year, we showed our gratitude at 8.18 p.m.; this year, it will be at 8.19 p.m., the next year, at 8.20 p.m., and so forth. Following the tradition from last year, we will interrupt the reception of the President of Estonia for a minute to show our appreciation towards one another with a hug.'

The initiative to celebrate the Independence Day by hugging fellow Estonians came from Hirvo Surva, Estonian conductor and Head of the Estonian Male Choir Association. On 2018, the Estonian anniversary year, the joint hug of 24 February took place at 8.18 p.m. (or 20.18).

The celebrations of Estonia 100 will continue until 2 February 2020, the date that marks the passing of a hundred years from concluding the Tartu Peace Treaty. In 2019, the events will focus on the 100th anniversary of the Estonian War of Independence. More information about the anniversary celebrations is available at

All news