Congress marks hundred years since Latgale chose to join Latvia

On Friday and Saturday the Latgale Centennial Congress is taking place in Rēzekne and Daugavpils, marking 100 years since Latgale chose to join Kurzeme and Vidzeme, helping pave Latvia's way to independence. 

On Friday, following an ecumenical service for the Latgale Congress, a celebratory parade took place as well as unveiling a monument and a plaza where the cinema Diāna - the place of the first congress - was formerly located.

Officials gave speeches highlighting Latgale's role in shaping what is now Latvia.

"A hundred years ago Latgalians realized the worth of freedom. Freedom allows retaining one's religion, language and the Latvian identity. Latgalians realized that they can become free only with the united might of all Latvians. [That by] joining people of Vidzeme and Kurzeme they can ensure the existence and growth of our nation," said Latvia's president Raimonds Vējonis, appearing in Rēzekne at the unveiling of the monument.

"Being Latgalian is a state of mind. Everyone is open. It's always an open culture, an open society where everyone is always accepted, just like a guest who's coming over who has the door wide open for him and a table laid for him," sociologist Inese Runce told LTV. 

Congress events will continue throughout May 5 and 6 with lectures over Latgale's identity and the region's role in history and nowadays. High-ranking officials and cultural luminaries are slated to deliver speeches as well.

The Latgale Congress of Latvians took place on 9–10 May 1917 (26–27 April, old style) in Rēzekne. Delegates from Latgale municipality and town governments, parishes and societies as well as Latvian riflemen participated (see a recent feature on the subject appearing on LSM).

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