Rezekne marks seminal Latgalian’s sesquicentennial

The town of Rēzekne is remembering historic cultural hero Francis Trasūns this year, whom Rainis hailed as the “first Latgalian to find the road to understanding between two divided parts of our nation”. The Latgale Museum of Cultural History and Rēzekne Town Library have dedicated their fall exhibit ‘Halt for an Historic Moment’ to the province’s patriot, writer, folklorist and spiritual patriarch on the occasion of his 150th birthday anniversary, reported LETA Tuesday.

Visitors to the exhibit can learn more about the life and works of Francis Trasūns through his Daugava Catholic almanac, published writings and photographs. The collected artifacts help one understand why President Jānis Čakste, speaking at his funeral, called Trasūns the man “who put the third star in Latvia’s seal – Latgale.”

Also, as part of the event, the town is hosting the collective quilting of a shawl to honor Trasūns, which will be completed by October 16, his birthday.

Trasūns dedicated his life to defending Latgalian language and culture, and his vision that its farmers would improve their lot through education and hard work on behalf of their homeland.

In 1917 Rēzekne hosted the Latgale Congress, where it was decided that the province should join with Latvia’s other geographical territories to become the Republic of Latvia, an idea that Trasūns advocated for zealously.

In 2009 Rēzekne erected a group of sculptures titled "The Entire Nation" in Trasūns' honor by the J.Ivanovs Music High School.

In this year of his sesquicentennial, novelist Inga Ābele has published an historical novel, “The Wicker Monk”, based on Trasūns’ role in Latvian history.

Her colleague, Latgallian writer Anna Rancāne said the book is a must-read for every Latvian.

“First of all, it’s about Latgale’s and Latvia’s history, which haven’t been well-integrated in previous accounts,” Rancāne explained. “The book is not just about history, it’s about the relationship between man and God, about honor, conscience, choices we each must make.”

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