Military parades and celebrations

Public festivals that are devoted to national holidays and commemorative days.

In Latvia

Lāčplēsis Day, November 11

Lāčplēsis Day symbolically commemorates the victory during Latvia's independence battles. On November 11, 1919, Latvia's Armed Forces defeated the Western Russian Volunteer Army commanded by Bermont-Avalov. French and British warships offered artillery support, and the result was the liberation of Rīga. The Latvian armed forces organise a military parade each year for Lāčplēša Day. Candles are lit on the walls of the Rīga Castle on the banks of the Daugava River to commemorate those who died in battles. Torchlight parades and other commemorative events are held all over Latvia.

Latvia's Independence Day, November 18

This day, too, features a military parade involving the armed forces of Latvia and its allies, Interior Ministry forces and Young Guard units. Flowers are laid at the Freedom Monument in Riga, worship services are held, along with many other events. The celebration extends throughout Latvia.


In Estonia

Estonian Independence Day, February 24

Independence Day in Estonia begins with the ceremonial raising of the national flag in Toompea, Tallinn and other cities in Estonia at sunrise. Events continue all day long with church services, a military parade in Freedom Square in Tallinn, and a presidential reception in the evening. Concerts, receptions and ceremonies at monuments to the War of Independence take place all over the country.

Victory Day, June 23

Victory Day commemorates Estonia's victory in the so-called Landeswehr War - a series of battles of the War of Independence near Cēsis, Latvia, (called Võnnu lahing in Estonian) where Estonian and Latvian armies jointly defeated the German forces (Landeswehr) and then marched on to Riga. On Victory Day, Estonians remember not only these battles, but all fighting aimed at obtaining and defending Estonian independence. Victory Day is celebrated all over the country, while the Estonian Defence League organises its main parade in a different town each year.