Happy Latvian Independence Day!
What have you done today to show your appreciation for Latvia? Sang a song, made some traditional Latvian food, attended a Latvian celebration of some kind?
Something that anyone can do to celebrate Latvia today is to tell people about our country. We may be small, but that doesn’t mean we should be ignored! We need to take our place on the world stage, and make sure that everyone everywhere knows about us, our culture and our land.
Take the time to share our history with your friends. Tell them about the struggle for independence – gaining it, losing it, and gaining it again. Tell about our folk hero Lāčplēsis. Tell them about the Baltic Way, where millions of Latvians, Estonians and Lithuanians joined hands to protest Soviet occupation.
Share our traditions – a love of nature, the countryside and public access to lands for mushroom and berry-picking. Midsummer’s Night. Mārtiņi, Miķeļi, Ūsiņi and all of the other seasonal celebrations. Eat some Jāņi cheese and rye bread.
Remember our heroes – the men and women, both known and unknown, who fought for Latvia’s independence and freedom and would not give up the cause. Who hid the Forest Brothers for decades. Who petitioned Western governments for acknowledgement of the occupation. Who dedicated their lives to ensuring that our people would have a home to call their own, where their language would be freely spoken, supported and encouraged, and their history taught to its fullest.
So, what are you doing today to celebrate Latvia?