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The President of the Republic sent his address to the celebration of Kristjan Jaak Peterson's 200th anniversary in Riga

President Lennart Meri sent his address to the celebration of Kristjan Jaak Peterson's 200th anniversary in Riga. The address was delivered by Juhan Haravee, the Ambassador of the Republic of Estonia in Riga:

''Dear friends,

I send my regards to your gathering on the 200th anniversary of Kristjan Jaak Peterson in Riga. Kristjan Jaak was born in Riga and died in Riga, and I am glad to see that Riga remembers him. K. J. Peterson has an important role in Estonian culture. Romantic young Estonians have pronounced his birthday the day of Estonian language and culture. We celebrate this day in this spirit for the sixth time already.

I would like to invite you to admire the thirst for life, openness to the world, the emotional fervour and the rational grasp of that man who will always remain young. Some people, at the age of 21, have not even lived yet. Kristjan Jaak Peterson had. In his diary, he has written: ''I have taught many people to cherish the time wherein they live''. That must have been a passionate, maybe also a fatal recognition. Living his short life with open eyes and an open heart, he had time to shape his experience into verse, and those were the first lines of modern Estonian poetry.

An avid student of languages, he did not simply study, but also classified and systematised.

He became a scholar early – what else would you call someone who translated and commented ''Mythologia Fennica''?

His black farmer's coat has become a symbol, which is important for us also in the literature and diplomatic etiquette of the 21st century.

I am glad that we remember and commemorate him together!''

Press Service of the Office of the President
Kadriorg, March 1, 2001


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