Greeting the Republic of Latvia on its birthday, the capital will host a flower-laying ceremony and military parade, various concerts, themed exhibitions and cinema. Everyone will also enjoy special live fire and festive decorations.
On Thursday, 17 November, at 18:00, the Riga Culture and Folk Art Centre "Mazā Ģilde" will host the festive concert "I Have My Land - Latvia", featuring the concert organisation's "Ave Sol” kokle player’s ensemble "Cantata", cellist Valters Pūce and percussionist Uģis Upenieks. The unprecedented sound will also include well-known melodies by Jēkabs Nīmanis, Emīls Dārziņš, Imants Kalniņš and other composers, which will show the rich, clear palette of sound colours and the diverse, unlimited musical possibilities of the kokle - the oldest and most popular Latvian folk instrument.
Whereas, at 19:00, Riga Culture and Leisure Centre "Imanta” will host the festive concert "She is the most beautiful to us", where Latvian folk songs will be performed by the mixed choir "Anima", composer, pianist Kristaps Krievkalns, percussionist Miķelis Vīte, flautist Andis Klučnieks, soloist Elīna Ose; artistic director of the concert, conductor Laura Leontjeva.
Festive events in the neighbourhoods
At 15:00, a patriotic concert "Latvia's Fate Stories" featuring the orchestra “Rīga” and the mixed choir “Juventus” will take place at the Culture Palace "Ziemeļblāzma"; at 16:00, in a concert called “Red-white Sky is sparkling”, artists like Aija Andrējeva, Zigfrīds Muktupāvels, Igo, Rūta Dūduma and a backup band will perform, but at 19:30, Riga Culture Centre “Iļģuciems” will host a concert "As I sang, it sounded” featuring the vocal group "Latvian Voices".
In the evening – from 19:00 p.m. to 22:00 p.m. - the Latvian Birthday celebration will take place not only at Brīvības and Doma Square, but also in several Riga neighbourhoods: Arkādija Park, park of Culture Palace “Ziemeļblāzma”, Latgale Park and VEF Culture Palace.
Celebrators in the neighbourhoods will enjoy a live fire, a broadcast from the event taking place at the Freedom Square, singing of the Latvian national anthem, singing with Riga choirs and the opportunity to enjoy warm tea and coffee in the company of well-known Latvian radio personalities and musicians: Musician and radio DJ Mārtiņš Vaters will perform at Arkādija Park, while radio TEV DJ Lauris Zalāns will create a festive atmosphere at Doma Square. Radio Skonto's Elita Marga and Mārtiņš Kits will entertain the celebrators of Latvia's birthday at the VEF Culture Palace, while the celebration in the park of the Culture Palace "Ziemeļblāzma" will be supervised by musician Mārtiņš Kanters. Whereas, DJ Aivis will help create a festive atmosphere for the visitors of Latgale Park.
Besides, in November, visitors will also have the opportunity to visit thematic exhibitions at Riga Culture and Leisure Centre "Imanta" and Riga Culture Centre "Iļģuciems", which are dedicated to the proclamation of the Republic of Latvia, sovereignty and national identity.
Cultural events in the city centre
On Friday, 18 November, at 10:30, a solemn flower-laying ceremony will begin at the Freedom Monument, followed by the traditional military parade of the National Armed Forces, Ministry of the Interior units and foreign units at the 11. novembra krastmala from 13:30.
From 12:00, Latvian organ music dedicated to Ukraine will be performed at the Riga Dome, at 16:00 the Riga Culture and Folk Art Centre "Mazā ģilde" will host the concert "Landscapes of the Homeland" featuring the mixed choir of the Riga Dome Choir School and pianist Agnese Egliņa, while the Latvian War Museum will host the concert "The Power of the People's Spirit" from 17:00 featuring the folklore and ancient martial art group "Vilkači".
The celebratory event on the 104th anniversary of the proclamation of the Republic of Latvia at the Freedom Square from 19:30 will feature a concert, an address by the President of Latvia Egils Levits, the national anthem of the Republic of Latvia, as well as performances by the Riga Chamber Choir "Ave Sol", orchestra “Rīga” and soloist Goran Gora.
At the end of the evening, concert "On Latvia's Birthday!" will take place at the Riga Culture and Folk Art Centre "Mazā ģilde" from 21:00, featuring the youth choir "Balsis", Haralds Arnis (double bass), Valts Pūce (piano), Andris Sējāns (vocals) and the instrumental ensemble conducted by Ieva Dzērve.
On the same day, from 10:00 to 18:00, everyone is welcome to visit the National History Museum of Latvia, where the exhibition "Satversme 100+" will be open, and excursions and activities for families with children will take place. Meanwhile, at the cinema "Splendid Palace", from 13:00 to 21:00, visitors will be welcomed to watch a selection of the latest Latvian films at a special price.
Festive decoration in the neighbourhoods and in the centre
The festive decoration will include five fire decorations for the 18 November events at Doma Square, VEF Culture Palace, Arkādija Park, Latgale Garden and at the Culture Palace "Ziemeļblāzma". The central fire decorations will be on Basteja Hill, in the city canal and on the canal bridges.
There are also 10 light installations in the city centre and neighbourhoods with the power words of Latvian folk songs: at Teika, Imanta, Zolitūde, Ziepniekkalns, Vecmīlgrāvis, Maskavas forštate, and Pļavnieki. At the same time, vertical flag bands are installed at more than a 1,000 lighting poles and City Hall, and festive decorations are supplemented by flag constructions.
This year, ideological tenet of the decoration and contents of national celebration is dependence of inner freedom form external circumstances. Knuts Skujenieks, whose poems can be found on billboards and posters in November, has also spoken about this in his poetry. Alongside them, there are also stories about the flags of our country that are kept in Latvia's homeland.
More detailed information on the events dedicated to the month of national celebration of Latvia organised by Riga local government is available at the website svetki.riga.lv, and news are available in the social media account “Rīgā notiek”. Booklets with the programme of the celebrations are available in Riga municipal libraries, culture centres, customer service stations in Neighbourhood Centres, as well as the Riga Tourist Information Centre.
Information was prepared by: Raimonds Grants – Project Coordinator at External Communication Division of Riga City Council Communication Department, e-mail: Raimonds.Grants@riga.lv.