Latvia marks 25 years of restored sovereignty

May 4 marks 25 years since the restoration of Latvian independence and with both Friday May 1 and Monday May 4 declared national holidays, the long weekend will provide plenty of opportunities to celebrate - despite less than ideal weather forecasts.

Thursday April 30 sees the opening of a new exhibition at the Latvian War Museum in Riga titled "Precious Things", featuring objects picked up in a hurry by Latvians fleeing their homeland for America and Canada at the end of the Second World War as the shadows of Soviet occupation closed in.

The exhibition is free to visit throughout the long festive weekend.

Meanwhile the nation's armed forces will continue their recent tradition of parading in a different town each year on May 4. This year's parade will take place in the central town of Jelgava, as part of the town's own 750th anniversary celebrations.

As well as the parade itself, townsfolk will have the opportunity to meet with military personnel, check their equipment and find out more about the vital role they play.

Other towns and cities across the country will be holding their own special May 4 events. 

Riga will be offering a wide range of celebratory events including a Latvian movie marathon at the Splendid Palace cinema, a dance concert and craft stalls in Vermanes park (With lots of kids' activities) and a grand musical evening in Dome square as well as numerous smaller events. Full details can be found at the Riga City Council website (Latvian only).

Nor will the celebrations be limited to Latvia with Luxembourg due to hold a week-long Latvian festival from May 3-10. 

On May 4, 1990, the Supreme Council of the Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic adopted the Declaration "On the Restoration of Independence of the Republic of Latvia" and renewed the 1922 Constitution of Latvia, making it a free and democratic state once again. 


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