On April 18, 2018 the Ministry of Culture’s Office Latvia 100 informed the public that only seven months remain until the Latvian state celebrates its hundredth birthday and events dedicated to the State Centenary continue in Latvia and many other places around the world. Throughout the month of May we will continue to mark this significant anniversary with a wide range of athletic, cultural, and informative events honouring freedom—the fundamental value of our nation and its people.
Many events related to freedom and independence, important for our country’s history, have taken place in the month of May—the Constitutional Assembly of Latvia was first convened on May 1, the Restoration of Latvian Independence was announced on May 4, we mark the defeat of Nazism and commemorate the victims of World War II on May 8, and we celebrate Europe Day on May 9.
This May the events dedicated to the Latvian State Centenary are focused around the theme of Freedom, calling on everyone to recognise and appreciate the opportunities we are given thanks to our Freedom.
Having gathered at the white tablecloth at the base of the Freedom Monument, Minister of Culture Dace Melbārde and the event organizers announced the programme of events for the Latvian State Centenary Month of Liberty, which can be found at lv100.lv/en/programme/calendar/liberty-month/
“In celebration of the restoration of our country’s independence, I call on everyone to consider the importance of freedom in our lives, and to have gratitude for the courage and dedication of those who created this country, the independent state of Latvia we live in today. And I invite one and all to participate in the many different activities in which we will honour freedom all around Latvia,” emphasized Minister of Culture Dace Melbārde.
As our special guests, people who carry the name of Latvia into the world and help to raise our self-esteem, have said, liberty is an essential part of any successful endeavour. “The opportunity to express ourselves and to challenge ourselves—that is the freedom, which makes it possible for us to grow and achieve even greater things. Freedom means daring to dream big dreams, no matter how ambitious they might be. This is the only way great things can be accomplished,” said Ineta Radēviča, president of the Latvian Athletics Association.
For man of letters Osvalds Zebris the key to freedom is responsibility and courage: Responsibility, because my personal freedom can also affect others. Courage, because freedom requires self-realisation, and that never comes easily.”
But street artist Dainis Rudens associates his freedom with not having to conform to stereotypes, and calls on everyone to be open and courageous: “You must look into yourself to recognise the things that are truly important to you. I represent the creative industries and without honesty toward ourselves and toward society there can be no growth. Creativity is at the core of self-expression—be it through art, tending a community garden, or through lifestyle choices. I urge everyone to dare to be free in the way we express ourselves, to inspire the people around us, and to do important and lasting things!”
The main events of the Month of Liberty:
On May 4 the doors of the Latvian National History Museum will open to visitors of the largest joint museum project in Latvian history—the exhibition The Latvian Century. Here visitors will be able to see historical documents from Kurzeme, Latgale, Selonia, Vidzeme, Zemgale, and Riga that have been preserved in museums around the country. They will be gathered in one place for the first time to reflect the history of Latvia over the past hundred years.
More than 60 streets in Latvia have been named for Freedom. The Freedom Street initiative will bring various exciting events to Latvia’s largest cities throughout the year. Among them are the People’s Freedom Run and various excursions and educational events. On May 4 in Riga Brīvības iela, or Freedom Street, will become the central axis of the celebrations with events taking place by the Freedom Monument, at the Esplanade, by the Daile Theatre, at the VEF Culture Centre, and elsewhere around the city.
The city of Jelgava will be holding its Freedom Festival on May 4. The city will be filled with activities of all kinds—a relay race, various exhibitions, and White Tablecloth Day celebrations; the urban sculpture Wheel of Time, dedicated to the centenary will be unveiled and a 60-metre-long piece of graffiti art will be created by local artists. Daugavpils Unity Square will host a group choir and folk dance celebration; a Freedom Bicycle Race will be held in Jūrmala, Liepāja will hold an orienteering competition, and special programmes will take place in Valmiera, Jēkabpils, and elsewhere in Latvia.
According to Aigars Nords, main organiser of the Lattelecom Riga Marathon, the theme of this year’s Centenary Marathon on May 19-20 is “Run through the Festival” and everyone who crosses the finish line will receive a small piece of freedom—a medal depicting Milda, Latvia’s Freedom statue. Juris Kokainis, member of the board for SIA Stipriem Events&Media, stressed that in honour of the Latvian State Centenary this year the Strong Race will include a special obstacle course dedicated to Freedom.
In order to celebrate the Latvian State Centenary not only in Latvia, but also throughout the world, the Latvian Institute together with the association VSK Noskrien invite Latvians and friends of Latvia to participate in the Jog Latvia in the World initiative. According to Aiva Rozenberga, project initiator and director of the Latvian Institute, runners will be able to run routes that have been designed to look like the contours of Latvia in many cities around the world, or they can create their own routes. In this way we can celebrate our freedom at home and abroad. 50 contour routes in 27 countries are already available.
The state centenary flag was symbolically unveiled at the event launch to signal the beginning of the centenary activities as a gift for all municipalities and to bring a festive feeling into every town and city.
The programme of events will continue throughout the month of May. On May 11 the conference Power in Latvia: from Antiquity to the Modern Day will take place at the National Library of Latvia. The goal of the conference is to determine how statehood came to develop in the territory of Latvia. On May 12 the Riga Motor Museum will host the Latvian centenary Youth Action Committee and the Latvian 4H Club forum Springtime for a New Century where young people who have realised or plan to realise projects and events around the theme: I create Latvia! I do Latvia! I AM LATVIA!
The White Tablecloth Celebration tradition in honour of the Restoration of Latvian Independence continues for the third year in a row, and this year there will be a huge celebration to mark the Latvian Centenary. To demonstrate the scale on which we are able to mark this important milestone of Latvian independence, everyone in Latvia is invited to register the location of their White Tablecloth events with the special digital calendar created in cooperation with the event platform kurp.es. To inspire others and preserve testimonials of the May 4 events for posterity, all celebrants are invited to share their photo and video stories through social media using the hashtags #LV100 and #brīvība.
Register the location of your White Tablecloth event on the digital map: kurpes.lv/baltagaldautasvetki. Or find out about the registered events using the interactive map: kurpes.lv/pasakumi/baltagaldautasvetki.
For more information about Liberty Month events go to: lv100.lv/en/programme/calendar/liberty-month/.
For additional information contact:
Office Latvia 100 Public Relations Specialist
Ministry of Culture
Tel: 67330339 / Mobile: 29374438