Priekā! Latvia marks national language day

Take note – story published 7 years ago

Cheers, or, as we'd say, priekā! On Friday Latvia marked its fifth National Language Day, which, according to the organizers, aims to "creatively and modernly celebrate that Latvian is our state language". 

National Language Day is celebrated on May 13 as it marks the birthday Juris Alunāns (1832-1864), a cultural activist and one of the first keepers of the Latvian language.

"The goal of this celebration is popularizing the state language in new ways," said Artis Ostups, representative at the Museum of Literature and Music, which curates the National Language Day activities.

It was indeed marked modernly, with rap battles, trivia contests, and Scrabble tournaments held across Latvia.

The festivities culminated at the Sounds of Language event at Dirty Deal Theater with young poets Guntis Kursišs and Raimonds Ķirķis delivering experimental poetry, accompanied by up-and-coming composer Platons Buravickis.

"It's an experiment with the sound of language, with language as music and noise, as opposed to language that concerns meaning," Ostups described the performance to Latvian Radio.

The piece will be updated with a video of the performance as it gets posted online.

A map of the many activities being held at schools, libraries and culture centers around the land can be viewed at the Museum of Literature and Music website.

Latvian is one of the two living Baltic languages, the other being Lithuanian. The pair are not mutually intelligible. In 2015 there were about 1.75 million native speakers of Latvian.

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