Latvia cautiously celebrates independence day

Latvia is in festive mood on Wednesday, marking 102 years since the proclamation of the independent Latvian state on November 18, 1918.

Though the usual centerpieces of festivities - parties, military parades, concerts, mass gatherings - do not take place this year, people are still in celebratory spirits in a more private atmosphere. Many have gone to the Monument of Freedom to lay flowers and candles beneath it.

What you should know about Latvia's independence day

Latvian Television has a short historical documentary telling of the events of November 18, 1918 -- the day Latvia proclaimed its independence -- as well as events leading up to it. Watch it here.

"Peacefully, keeping a distance, wearing a mask. One must come to the Monument of Freedom on this day with a flower. It is a big day for us! We'll eat cake in the evening, light candles.

Back in 1944 we fled Latvia as refugees but now we are happy to be back,"

said a woman met by Latvian Radio near the monument.

Another said that "the feeling is firstly in the heart."

A French citizen said that he was currently in Latvia for the first time: "I am from France,  I study tourism and learn languages. The flower ceremony was very beautiful, I will go look at the light installations at night (..)

I will try to feel how people, despite everything, mark independence day here."

State officials addressed the nation in congratulatory speeches (see our other story). Saeima held a meeting partly remotely to mark independence day. Speaker of the Saeima Ināra Mūrniece in her speech emphasized the importance to find strength to endure restrictions and protect one another. 

President Egils Levits will hold his official speech at 19:40 from Rīga Castle.

We at LSM wish you all a very happy and safe day wherever you are in the world!

 

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