"On 20 February 1918, the first opportunity to read aloud the Estonian Declaration of Independence was in Haapsalu, however foreign troops managed to march into the city before the Salvation Committee arrived," Margus Kasterpalu, Head of Estonia 100 Major Events at the Government Office said. "The struggle to declare the independence of the Republic of Estonia continued on the following days, but the events in Haapsalu played an important role in this," Kasterpalu said.
At 12 noon, the playing of the church carillon will begin the public open-air ceremony and festive opening of the flag square on the castle grounds. Prime Minister Jüri Ratas, Chairman of the Haapsalu City Council Jaanus Karilaid and provost Leevi Reinaru will take turns speaking. Historical events will be recalled by Heiki Magnus, information officer of the Defence League's Lääne malev. Accompanied by the Defence Forces Orchestra, an Estonia 100 memorial plaque will also be opened at the flag square.
"In order to welcome and commemorate Estonia's approaching centenary, the blue, black and white will fly on Haapsalu's new flag square," Mayor of Haapsalu Urmas Sukles said. He continued, saying that today, townspeople will gather at the flag square to mark the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia and Haapsalu's important role in proclaiming independence.
At 2 p.m., Prime Minister Jüri Ratas will present the National Cultural and Scientific Awards at Läänemaa Upper Secondary School. Starting at 4:30 p.m., Prime Minister Jüri Ratas will host an official reception at the Haapsalu Cultural Centre.
On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia, the anniversary of independence will be celebrated for the first time as an entire week of events. The larger centres where major centenary week events will take place from 19-25 February include Tallinn, Haapsalu, Narva, Viljandi, Pärnu, Paide and Tartu.
Estonia's centenary week includes more than 650 events to mark the 100th anniversary of independence, taking place both in Estonia and abroad. An overview of the centenary week programme can be found at https://www.ev100.ee/en/estonia-100-centennial-week