CELEBRATE!: Everyone’s welcome to Latvia’s 93rd anniversary events.
RIGA - When we look into the mirror we see a reflection, and this is how the world sees us, too. When we make a country look into the mirror, what can we see then? Basically the past, present and a desirable future comes to mind! People, traditions and a way of life follow soon after. The mirror is open, never hiding anything, and this time it shows the reflection of Latvia. This small Baltic country celebrates its 93rd anniversary on Nov. 18 and welcomes everyone who wants to be a part of it.
At the beginning of the 20th century an independent Latvian state was an unachievable dream for most people, yet in 1918 there was a group of intelligent and courageous men who decided to change an ordinary day into history – a day when a dream had enough power to become reality. To establish a country turned out to be the easiest task. The hardest was to keep it! Later years brought war, occupation, a singing revolution and the independence’s renewal. Now is the time to be consistent, and this is what we can see in the celebration event list.
Riga, as the capital of the country, offers the most diverse program for the celebration, including the traditional military parade in the morning and fireworks as the conclusion. Throughout the day it is possible to attend various musical performances, one of which is a ceremonial concert at the foot of the Freedom Monument, where the most significant Latvian songs will be sung and a speech by the president will be given; thus it is the place where the true national feeling is usually felt as people raise their flags to honor their country. Still, the headline act once again is the light festival “Staro Riga” (Beaming Riga), which in 2011 has the topic ‘The stories of the city.’ Illuminating various buildings, bridges, monuments and squares, the stories of them are also illuminated, proving that the city is urban, real, virtual and imagined. Riga, the capital of the country, has different stories to tell.
Probably the celebration of Independence Day is the best solution on how to encourage citizens of Latvia to be nationally oriented, for at least one day. As disbelief in the political and economic processes seems to grow in size, this type of celebration lets everyone look around and understand what a beautiful country he or she really lives in. There is no talk about the country as an institution. There is a dependence on our personal commitment to the country as a partnership and solidarity instead. While many people possibly prefer to belittle all achievements of Latvia, there are huge numbers of individuals who decide to remain as patriotic as possible, as only good thoughts can actually affect the overall mood. Yes, those who put their signatures to confirm their loyalty to the future country back in 1918 could not imagine the problems we are going through today, but without any doubt they themselves would say that we have come too far to let our homeland slip out of our hands! Additionally, there is no argument that the main Latvian treasure will be its people and their desire to build a wealthy and proud country, so this is what the nation of Latvia needs to put as its goal, starting from the ordinary people and ending with the executive power.
Independence Day is by far the most important celebration a person can have, hence the event list is a perfect tool to be convinced that we get warmer with the help of the light which shines over our heads and delights the eyes, and that we can feel the power of the parade which demonstrates the willingness to protect! In the end, this is the only day when we really appreciate the meaning of our country – Latvia has gone through harsh times, but has always managed to get back on track! So the most simple ‘Happy Birthday’ proves this road has not been worthless.