Latvia Culture and Traditions


According to a2zcamerablog, Latvia is a country located in Europe. Latvian traditions are fundamentally linked to peasant life and the rhythms that mark it, so you can recognize the influence of pagan rituals. The folklore, handed down orally, is full of tales, fables, legends, sagas and dainas. The latter are short and poetic folk songs, comparable to haiku Japanese. Since 1873, the National Song Festival has been held in Latvia every five years, culminating in a large choir in the capital’s open-air amphitheater; the event involves approx. 20,000 artists including amateur singers and dancers. The most important festival of the year (23-24 June) is the Jani Festival, dedicated to the summer solstice. The population celebrates it in the countryside, where beer, cheeses and cakes are prepared and wreaths of flowers and herbs are intertwined; the latter are hung on the houses to keep evil spirits away and chants (Ligo) are sung around the bonfires. Amber craftsmanship is widespread in the country(historical symbol of the country) and wood. § In typical gastronomy, smoked foods (especially fish), dairy products, potatoes, cereals and eggs occupy first-rate places. The staple of the local diet is smoked fish (herring, eels and sardines), while lamprey is one of the finest products. Latvians are also skilled pastry chefs, particularly skilled in fresh berry desserts. Among the drinks, the most curious is the black balm of Riga (produced only in Latvia since 1755), very alcoholic, thick and very black in color.


The oldest stone buildings date back to the century. XII (castle and church of Ikškile, in Romanesque form), while in the century. XIII the castles of the cities of Valmiera, Cesis, Riga etc. arose. Local variants of Gothic architecture are, in Riga, the cathedral (begun in 1215) and the apse of the church of St. Peter. If there are few traces left by the Renaissance style, the spread of the Baroque was very intense (Danenštern house, 17th century). In the Baroque period of greatest flourishing (1700-70) many churches were enriched with interior furnishings and funeral monuments (church of Apriki, church of Pasiena). Also noteworthy are the civil buildings built by Rastrelli (Rundale palace, 1736; Jelgava palace, 1738). At the end of the century. XVIII the classical taste prevailing in Russia was established. Towards the middle of the nineteenth century a current of a national character began to form, represented by Latvian painters (K. Huns, 1830-1877; J. Fedders, 1838-1909) and architects (J. Baumanis, 1834-1891). Petersburg Academy of Arts. At the end of the century. In the nineteenth century, the group “Rukis” (Worker) became the diffuser of realistic themes, including the painters J. Rosentals (1866-1916), V. Purvits (1872-1945) and the sculptors G. Škilters (1874-1954) and T. Zalkalns. The October Revolution is reflected in the works of artists such as A. Apsitis (1880-1944), G. Janis Roberts Tillbergs and K. Zale (1888-1942), which remained faithful to realism even in the period of the Restoration (1918-40). After the Second World War the destroyed cities were rebuilt, including Riga; the new master plan of this city has created large building complexes (Polytechnic, Palazzo della Scienza, Kolchoz house), largely due to the architect O. Tilmanis. The visual arts, throughout the Soviet regime, moved within the sphere of socialist realism, drawing inspiration above all from themes of social and political life. The modern and contemporary art of the post-independence period, on the other hand, is largely based on modules and styles from Western Europe, with contaminations due to traditional folk art. Among its exponents we can mention D. Vilks (b.1948), whose works refer to Latvian textile crafts; E. Rozenbergs (b.1948), whose works are based on tapestry art and artistic furniture; H. Heinrihsone (b. 1948), who is mainly inspired by light and heat; I. Jaunberga (b. 1978), who revisits Renaissance painting in a modern key; I. Heinrihsons (b. 1945), author of an original equine iconography. Alongside painting and sculpture, engraving, graphics (J. Osis, n. 1926) and theatrical scenography have reached a notable level.


The folkloristic-ritual shows staged in the countryside for the great moments of the agricultural year or for the great ceremonies of human life remained alive for a long time, but an indigenous theater (that was not in German or Russian, culturally dominant languages ​​starting from XVIII century) only occurred in 1870, when the Latvian Society of Riga was born, an amateur formation that aroused similar initiatives in many other centers. The theatrical activity intensified and became professional in the twenty years of independence: an Opera House was built in Riga, with other minors, also hosting an interesting ballet company; a National Theater for the classical repertoire and an Art Theater, more open to formal innovations.

Latvia Culture

You may also like...