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Polish National Flag Day is celebrated in Tartu on 2 May

On 2 May, the Embassy of the Republic of Poland celebrates the Polish National Flag Day for the first time in Tartu. The flag day was established by the Sejm (parliament of Poland) in 2004 to strengthen the identity of Poland and enhance people’s knowledge of its national symbols. Also Rector of the University of Tartu Toomas Asser will take part in the celebrations. 

It was not a coincidence that Tartu was chosen as the venue of the flag day celebrations in Estonia. Tartu is not only the intellectual and cultural capital of Estonia, but also a city that played an important role in the history of Poland since 1582, when it was part of the I Rzeczpospolita. The colours of Tartu’s white and red flag were granted to the city of Tartu on 9 May 1584 by King Stephanus Bathory of Poland, following those of the flag of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. 

On 2 May, also the Day of Polish Community Abroad is celebrated. This is extremely important for the Estonian Polish community, who have helped to strengthen both Polish and Estonian heritage in Tartu over the centuries. The close ties between the two countries are also reflected by the fact that around 2,000 Poles graduated from the university in Tartu in the 19th and early 20th century, and many of them contributed to the reconstruction of Poland after the country regained its independence in 1918. 

The Polish National Flag Day celebrations include a wide range of events aimed at highlighting the strong ties between Poland and Estonia, promoting the Polish heritage in Tartu, and paying tribute to people who have helped to foster Polish-Estonian relations, especially in the fields of culture and science. 

Schedule 

13:00 Opening of the exhibition of Fryderyk Chopin National Institute “Fryderyk Chopin. Life” in Heino Eller Tartu Music College, Lossi 15 
14:00 Laying flowers at the
memorial plaque of Stephanus Bathory on the southern wing of the University of Tartu’s main building
14:15 Jaan Kaplinski in memoriam – ceremony of dropping flowers into the river Emajõgi from Tartu Arch Bridge 
14:30 Enn Tarto in memoriam – laying the wreath in Raadi cemetery 
15:00 Tree-planting ceremony to honour Bolesław Hryniewiecki in the University of Tartu Botanical Garden, Lai 38. The ceremony is dedicated to Hryniewiecki, a graduate of the University of Tartu who later became Rector of the University of Warsaw (speakers also include Toomas Asser, Rector of the University of Tartu) 
18:00 Ceremony of raising the flag of the Republic of Poland in Tartu Town Hall Square. The bells in the town hall tower play Michał Kleofas Ogiński’s polonaise “Farewell to My Homeland” 
18.30 Ceremony and concert in the assembly hall of the University of Tartu. Tõnis Lukas is awarded the Commander's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland, then catalogue of the exhibition "Polish-Estonian relations 1918–1939 in Estonian Archives" is presented, and the evening will conclude with a concert in which Jakub Kuszlik, an awardee of the 18th Chopin Piano Competition of Warsaw, plays works by Fryderyk Chopin and Ignacy Jan Paderewski. 

The Polish National Flag Day is organised in Tartu by the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in cooperation with Tartu City Government, Estonian National Archives, the University of Tartu, Heino Eller Tartu Music College, and the University of Tartu Botanical Garden.

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