National anthem of the Republic of Estonia

Mu isamaa, mu õnn ja rõõm (“My Fatherland, My Happiness and Joy”) was adopted as the national anthem of the Republic of Estonia in 1920, and again in 1990. The lyrics were written by Johann Voldemar Jannsen and are set to a melody composed in 1848 by Fredrik (Friedrich) Pacius. Sung at the first Estonian Song Festival in 1869.

It gained popularity during the growing national movement. In Finland, the tune first became popular only as a students’ song , but soon it also became more widely accepted. When both Estonia and Finland became independent after the First World War, the identical melody with different words was recognized as the national anthem of both nations. Estonia officially adopted it in 1920, after the War of Independence. During the decades of the Soviet occupation of Estonia, the melody was strictly forbidden and people were sent to Siberia for singing it. However, even during the worst years the familiar tune could be heard over Finnish radio; it was played every day at the beginning and end of the program. Thus, the melody could never be forgotten. With the restoration of Estonian independence, the national anthem has, of course, been restored too. 

Lyrics of the anthem

lyrics by Johann Voldemar Jannsen

melody by Fredrik (Friedrich) Pacius

Mu isamaa, mu õnn ja rõõm,
kui kaunis oled sa!
Ei leia mina iial teal
see suure, laia ilma peal,
mis mul nii armas oleks ka,
kui sa, mu isamaa!

Sa oled mind ju sünnitand
ja üles kasvatand;
sind tänan mina alati
ja jään sull’ truuiks surmani,
mul kõige armsam oled sa,
mu kallis isamaa!

Su üle Jumal valvaku,
mu armas isamaa!
Ta olgu sinu kaitseja
ja võtku rohkest õnnista,
mis iial ette võtad sa,
mu kallis isamaa!

The Estonian national anthem

Translation by Jenny Wahl

My native land, my joy - delight,
How fair thou art - how bright!
For nowhere in the world around
Can ever such a place be found
So well belov’d, from sense profound,
My native country dear!

My tiny crib stood on thy soil,
Whose blessings eased my every toil.
With my last breath my thanks to thee,
For true to death I’ll ever be,
O worthy, most belov’d and fine,
My dearest country mine!

May God in Heaven thee defend,
My own, my dearest land!
May He be guard, may He be shield,
For ever bless and guardian wield
Protection for all deeds of thine,
My own, my dearest land!