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New Year's Address of the President of the Republic

31.12.2020

Dear people of Estonia!

The end of this year comes without large parties. It is of course very human that now when it is not possible, we have a new appreciation of the charm and value of spending New Year’s Eve spontaneously and together. I am also speaking to you from here in Kadriorg, not from some town square with thousands in attendance like it has been for the last few years.

On one hand it is of course a pity. However there is a different kind of beauty in this Christmastime and New Year’s Eve, spent just with your own family – somehow more serious and profound. Perhaps wistfully sad, as the year has been difficult. There’s quiet gratitude, if everything is more or less well at least for your own family. And a clearer understanding of how little we actually need for happiness.

Inevitably at the end of every year there will be those for whom the ending year has been sad and difficult. People whose voice is not audible. Loneliness. Loss. Poverty. Evil at home. Bullying at work or at school. Endless care for elderly parents or a disabled child. Disease with a bad prognosis.

I hope that in the New Year all of us will have more time to think of those for whom tonight would not be a joyous day even without the worldwide pandemic.

Surely something good will also arise from the complicated year. Even more noticing. More understanding of those who need help. Some who have been silent will find a voice, some walls of silence will become lower. More caring and less bullying.

This is crucial —there are too many in today’s Estonia who are not ashamed to be bullies. They are loud and they are heard. And they are often no longer embarrassed.

However, let’s leave these topics tonight. What is important today, is that most of the people in Estonia are like those you are sitting next to tonight—good ones, with a beautiful soul.

People who tonight, and on other nights, watch over our security. People who are always ready to take care of our health. People in all corners of Estonia and in all professions—everyone’s contribution counts, there is room for all, all are important.

These are people of Estonia who care for each other. No matter the language in which any family wishes each other a Happy New Year in a few minutes.

People sitting around the festive table tonight who care for each other, even though their understanding of some important questions of life may be completely different. People who love each other even though age, religion, the colour of their skin or their sex may be different. Or the same.

At the jubilee song festival in 2019 the choirs and the whole audience sang together—no one is alone! As we now know, it was an incantation for the future. No one really is alone, and we have needed each other’s support as never before.  

It has been a very difficult and complicated year. There has been premature death and long term suffering, even though our doctors are showing some of the best results in Europe and the world when it comes to helping coronavirus patients. They can only continue to do so if the whole society tries to keep the number of cases down, so that access to medical assistance does not deteriorate.

However, the new year comes with new, scientifically proven and well tested hope. We have vaccines, soon those on the front lines and the elderly will be protected, and then the rest of us in turn.

Let us remember from this year mainly all the good that Estonian people have done for each other.

Dear people home in Estonia and those who are thinking about Estonia from afar!

May the more contemplative beauty and peace of this end of the year also accompany us next year. The high art of being human will still not be simple next year, neither is belonging to the modern society. The changing of the world is not always inspiring. However at the end of every year there is hope for a better new year. No one is alone!

Happy New Year!