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The President of the Republic opened the Students' Song And Dance Festival Gaudeamus

The President of the Republic and Mrs. Ingrid Rüütel today participated in the opening ceremony of the 15th Baltic Students' Song and Dance Festival Gaudeamus on the Town Hall Square in Tartu. The head of state is the patron of the current Gaudeamus festival.

In his opening address, President Rüütel said that for almost a century and a half our national song festivals have been milestones in Estonian cultural history and a source of national identity. ''Nationwide Song Festivals have facilitated the emergence of several new traditions. One of the most significant of them is the Students' Song Festival Gaudeamus, which was first organized by Richard Ritsing 50 years ago. The tradition of the Baltic Students' Song and Dance festival has not only survived all those years, for many it certainly belongs among the most memorable events of their student years,'' the head of state said.

The President of the Republic expressed gratitude to the initiator of Gaudeamus festival and its first organizer Richard Ritsing, and also to the organizers and participants of the current festival. ''I wish that with this beautiful tradition the cooperation between Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania will continue and will enrich our lives in many different fields,'' President Rüütel added.

The 15th Baltic Students' Song and Dance Festival Gaudeamus, held from June 30 till July 2, 2006, celebrates also its 50th anniversary as the first Baltic Students' Song Festival was held in Tartu Kassitoome in 1956. The organizers expect about 6000 participants from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Nordic countries, and about 7000 spectators.

Today, the President of the Republic opened also a grand gymnastics fest dedicated to the 105th anniversary of the Estonian Kalev Sports Society at the Kalev Central Stadium.

Public Relations Department of the Office of the President
Kadriorg, June 30, 2006

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