The Estonian song festival, Laulupidu, has taken place every five years for over 150 years. It is one of the largest choral events in the world and involves almost all of Estonia. The festival embraces the power of singing, which has become a national symbol for Estonia, especially in the most troubling of times.
That recent stormy night in Europe’s eastern frontier still reverberates for a 19-year-old student and much of her country. It happened during the closing hour of Laulupidu, Estonia’s biggest national gathering, a quinquennial choral event that had helped Estonia free itself from communism. Under pouring rain that July 2nd, before a crowd, Hanna Grete Rebane stood in a choir of 23,000 young Estonians singing poetic verses about yearning for one’s homeland despite hardships. As darkness began to settle, the audience began to sway with the singers; people held hands and wept, waving the Estonia flag.
September 11, 2023 -
Isabelle de Pommereau