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Song Celebration Library Estonian song celebration in word, image, and sound, open from 6 May to 12 October

17.05.2019

In 2019, Estonia is celebrating a dignified anniversary – 150 years have passed from our first song celebration festival. On this occasion the National Library of Estonia has prepared an exhibition on the basis of its collections which takes a look at the Estonian song celebration tradition through various forms of expression in print culture. Besides songbooks, posters, and advertising publications, other printed matter related to Estonian song celebrations like invitations and thank-you letters, programmes, opening speeches, guidebooks, postcards, and photo albums, published throughout 150 years, are on display at the exhibition. It offers nostalgic moments for people who have participated in song celebrations, and an insight into the organisation and everyday life of the celebrations. Visitors are encouraged to touch and browse the publications just as any other item on the shelves in the reading rooms.
The exhibition reflects both the story of Estonian song celebrations as well as the wealth, variety and historical depth of the collections of the National Library of Estonia. No other previous exhibition has drawn together publications about Estonian song celebrations in such a volume than the current jubilee exhibition does. The amount of publications on display is so large and the time span covered so long that the final result resembles rather a „song celebration library“ than a traditional book exhibition. The exhibition begins in the Rare Books Exhibition Hall and continues in the Sixth Floor Gallery and Exhibition Hall.

The opening ceremony on 8 May was organised as a small symbolic song celebration festival, with four choirs singing the most loved songs of the celebration. The atmosphere in the National Library’s foyer with its excellent acoustics was both majestic and touching, giving all those present a taste of the upcoming event that brings together the entire country.
In 2003 Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian Song and Dance Celebrations were listed as UNESCO oral and intangible heritage.