Folklore band's 'phallic' costumes at kindergarten raise eyebrows

Take note – story published 1 year ago

LSM's children's content editorial received a video of winter solstice celebrations at a kindergarten in Līvāni, with the participation of a folklore band. Parents were confused about 'phallic' symbols in the band's costumes, as well as Soviet attributes. Latvian Television's 4. studija attempted to find out whether the celebration was family-friendly.

Folklore researcher Ingus Barovskis told LTV: "What I saw in this video – I'm not sure whether this costume belongs to any layers of mythology. Because rituals – whether modernized or postmodernized, or traditional – must have their own place. I think in this case something's misplaced."

The folklore band Ceiruleits is confident they've done all in Latvian tradition.

"We do mummery in line with local traditions, and our masks have been studied for 20 or 25 years –how they've been in Līvāni municipality, and the whole Latgale region," said Anna Kārkle, leader of the band.

Kārkle said that parents' concerns about Soviet symbols are unfounded as "masks are made of clothing that is old and not worn anymore, that have been thrown out" and it is a parody of the gone days.

Asked about the 'phallic' symbols, Kārkle said:

"It was a carrot with two onions, and ignorance shows here. I think the children were not reminded of anything by the carrot and onions; they were having fun. Who's bothered by that carrot? They saw a carrot, nothing else," said Kārkle. 

Opinions differ. While the parents saw the ambiguous objects, Līvāni municipality representative Ginta Kraukle said: "No phallic symbols were demonstrated here. It was mummery, and everyone can interpret it differently. So, go ahead, set a censorship for folklore groups, how they can or cannot behave, and we will observe that!"

However, the Education Quality State Service (IKVD) representative Maksims Platonovs said that "some attributes are questionable."

"There are 17 criteria. One is that an event must be appropriate for [..] children's age and perception. In this case it probably was not observed. The head of the institution or a delegated person must react if the event doesn't go as planned. It is alright to interrupt the event, it is probably better than to explain afterward," said Platonovs. 

The folklore researcher Barovskis confirmed: "We can do the ritual as we please [..] but it has a place and audience. Here, the audience raises the issue."

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