Workshop of Latvian folk plays by Austrums

Laugh, stretch your legs and get to know Latvian traditions in a workshop organized by guests from Riga – the other European Capital of Culture 2014 – chamber choir Austrums.

Latvia boosts a rich folklore heritage that has been maintained even in modern times. Even though Latvia is a predominantly Christian country, many of the old pagan traditions celebrated by ancient Latvians several centuries ago live on today and are celebrated as holidays. One of the most widely celebrated holidays is the summer solstice on 23 and 24 June, which in Latvia are called Ligo and Jani and Midsummer night in many other countries of Europe. This holiday is celebrated in Latvia as widely as New Year’s Eve is celebrated elsewhere.

Plays and rituals were a very important part of holidays celebrated by ancient Latvians. Some of them were provided to have fun at the main annual celebrations but some had a particularly solemn character. For example in a place called B?rta a special play was dedicated to say goodbye to the gone relative. There were various and specific plays in pagan Christmas, Easter and summer solstice. Many plays have elements of flirtation, which served as a way of showing one’s feelings to beloved.

Participants of the workshop will have a chance to rush in the Latvian play steps or craft a traditional instrument called D?cekl?tis, as well as get to know Latvian folk music and traditional folk costumes.

You can get to know more about Latvian traditions

Photo: V. Balckare