Ornaments show ‘national soul’ in Munich

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An exhibit devoted to the national costume and song and dance festival traditions opened at the Five Continents Museum in Munich last Thursday.

Titled ‘Ornaments of the Latvian Soul’, the exhibit is part of the cultural program of Latvia’s EU Council Presidency.

The show tells how the Song and Dance Festival celebrations and the wearing of regionally varied folk costumes expresses Latvians’ national sense of identity and self-awareness.  Altogether 26 different costumes from various local traditions were given by the Senā klēts national costume center, and are on display together with photographs, ethnographic and archaeological objects, ornaments and a wealth of audio-visual materials depicting the song and dance festival at different times in history.

The show’s project manager Linda Rubene said “this is the first exhibition of this kind that offers an insight into Latvia, the development of the nation, its traditions and folklore.”

On her part Latvia’s Ambassador to Germany Elita Kuzma hailed the opening of the exhibit as part of the week-long cultural and political program ending that week between Latvia and the German land of Bavaria.

The exhibit, which runs until April 19, is organized by the Latvian National Center for Culture together with the Ethnographic Open-Air Museum, the National History Museum, The Bank of Latvia, the National Library and a number of regional museums. The Five Continents Museum, formerly the Museum of Ethnology is open from Tuesday to Saturday, 9.30–17.30. Admission is €5 for adults.

After its run in Munich, it will move to the Neumunster Abbey in Luxembourg from May 8 until June 7. Later this summer the show will return to Riga for the start of the 8th Nordic-Baltic Choral Festival, where it will be joined by national costumes from the Baltic and Scandinavian countries.

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