On 18 November 2018 we will celebrate Latvia’s Centenary.
We will greet the day with honour and dignity, proud and happy for having prepared a wide range of celebratory events and festivities that will take place from 2017 to 2021. Everyone who calls Latvia home and feels a sense of belonging to this country is kindly invited to participate in joint creation of this historically unique event.
Latvia is created by our thoughts and deeds, through our daily contributions to Latvia’s prosperity. ‘I am Latvia’ is the central message of the centenary celebrations, and the participatory theme ‘I create Latvia. I make Latvia’ permeates the many events. This message reminds us that Latvia’s greatest resource is our people; those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom, those who have dedicated their lives to the creation and maintenance of an independent state, create our present reality with the work they do on a daily basis, and, together with the new generation, are laying the foundation for our future.
The Centenary celebrations also come into being when we all work together. The celebration program defines the overall goal and guiding message for the celebrations, enumerates the key tasks we must accomplish together, and a number of nationwide events, encouraging each and every person living in Latvia to contribute their ingenuity and good deeds as gifts to our nation on its 100th birthday. More than 5000 people have already shared their ideas, and everyone is invited to add their own ideas, dedicated to Latvia and corresponding with the goals of the celebration, to the open calendar of centenary events here.
In preparation for a birthday celebration, each of us performs a sort of ritual - we clean house, revisit our memories, thank our parents, invite guests, make ourselves beautiful, and receive gifts from our friends. We will also follow these steps in anticipation of our nation’s birthday. Five interlinked and complementary Centenary celebration themes have been defined, playing on similarities with birthday celebrations:
1) Honouring Latvia’s founding mothers and fathers - an opportunity to explore Latvian history and our family roots, and to honour the vivid personalities who have contributed significantly to Latvia’s creation and development at various times and in various fields.
2) Appreciating the road to Latvian statehood - an invitation to look back on the development of the Republic of Latvian in both the recent past and the distant past, to evaluate the achievements and the resources of the present, and to plan Latvia’s future together.
3) Thanking Latvia’s friends and neighbours - a grateful tribute our friends and neighbours, and to our allies and the countries that have defended Latvian sovereignty with whom we have open, practical, and future-oriented relationships, and who are always there to lend a helping hand with their support and advice.
4) Adorning Latvia and preparing gifts - a call to join in the beautification and development of our natural and cultural environment, as well as to help with the preparation of celebration gifts and delicacies.
5) Celebrating Latvia’s birthday and opening presents - an invitation to join in this national and international collective experience of recognising everything we have come through, enjoying everything we are, and inspiring each other to become everything we want to be!
Each year of the Latvian Centenary Celebrations has been given a key word in remembrance of the events of 100 years ago, significant to the foundation and continued existence of our great nation.
- 2017 is the Year of Will. In 1917 the will of the people, which had evolved over the centuries, was given form.
The main activities will include: the ‘Embrace Latvia’ opening ceremony for the Latvian Centenary Celebrations; events marking the centenary of the first Latgalian Congress; events marking the centenary of the declaration of the creation of an autonomous and unified Latvia by the People’s Council of Latvia; the 95th anniversary of the Latvian Constitutional Court; cycle of events about the greatest personalities of the Latvian National Awakening and other events.
- 2018 is the Year of Birth. 1918 was a year of great change, when the new countries of Central and Eastern Europe were created from the ruins of former empires.
The main activities will include: the conclusion of the project ‘The story of the Latvian Flag at home and in the world’ - a book of letters prepared in collaboration with Latvian regional advisors and diasporas; preparation for the festivities, including the ‘A National Costume for Everyone’ initiative, ‘The Latvian Landscape’ discussion cycle and events, ‘The Freedom Road Story’ project, and the Most Beautiful Municipality competition; the 26th All-Latvian Latvian Song Festival and the 16th Latvian Dance Festival; events commemorating the centenary of the Latvian Police; the birthday month and culmination of events celebrating the Latvian Centenary in Latvia and abroad; gifts for Latvia, including: sixteen Latvian Films for the Latvian Centenary, the book release & publication party of the new Latvian National Encyclopaedia, ‘The History of Statehood in Latvia’ essay collection, the unveiling of the ‘Latvian school bag’ centenary gift to each student, the completion and celebration of the Likteņdārzs commemorative gardens, a joint exhibition in all Latvian museums, new developments in various fields, the ‘Born in Latvia’ concert cycle, the construction of new infrastructure, memorials, and other events.
- 2019 is the Year of Courage. The Republic of Latvia was established, even as the freedom fighters were surrounded by the German-led Baltic Territorial Army and Russia’s Bolshevik troops and in 1919 we won the Latvian War for Independence.
The main activities will include: the reopening of the National History Museum of Latvia in the Riga Castle; stories about Latvia’s guardians, including: centenary of the Latvian Army and the Latvian Border guard, the centenary of the Battle of Cēsis, the centenary of the Bermont Affair in Rīga and Jelgava; reflections on the work of the Latvian Provisional Government in Liepāja; the commemoration of the 30th anniversary of The Baltic Way; the commemoration of the Centenary of Latvian national institutions; the Global/All-Latvian Gathering in Cēsis, and other events.
- 2020 is the Year of Freedom. Latvians became free, adopted Parliamentary Procedure, and in 1920 elected the Constitutional Assembly and the first Latvian President.
The main activities will include: the event cycle ‘The Latvian Constitution celebrates 100 years’, the event cycle ‘A sustainable future for Latvia’, the 30th anniversary of the Renewal of Latvian Independence, the unveiling of the new Mežaparks Open-Air Stage and ‘The Silver Birches’ project, the Latvian School Youth Song and Dance Celebration, and other events.
- 2021 is the Year of Growth. In 1921 the Republic of Latvia was finally recognised both de jure and de facto and was accepted into the greatest political organisation of the day, the United Nations.
The main activities will include: the conclusion of the project ‘Latvian footprints around the world’; the opening of the Latvian Contemporary Art Museum; the 30th anniversary of the January Barricades; events commemorating the adoption of the Constitution of the Republic of Latvia and the first parliamentary elections; European Latvian Culture Festival, and other events.
The Latvian Centenary Celebrations Abroad Programme will combine Latvia’s international cultural programmes and public diplomacy projects. The programme is designed to work toward Latvia’s foreign policy priority directions at home and abroad - economic growth, security, the unity and effectiveness of the European Union, and active participation in the European Neighbourhood Policy. The Latvian Centenary Celebration programme outside of Latvia is synergistic and includes cultural, economic, political and security aspects.
Unified communications concerning the Latvian Centenary Celebration Programme abroad will form a common framework for specific and complementary events abroad in collaboration with the Latvian Ministries for Culture and Foreign Affairs, the Latvian Institute, the State Chancellery, and the Latvian Investment and Development Agency (LIAA).