At the National Art Museum of Latvia on 8 July 2018, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, together with the Saeima (the Latvian Parliament) and the Ministry of Culture, will host a special Latvian Centenary event to present our people’s unique song and dance festival tradition to official foreign visitors who have arrived to the XXVI Latvian Song and XVI Dance Celebration.
The Speaker of the Saeima, Ināra Mūrniece, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Edgars Rinkēvičs, and the Minister of Culture, Dace Melbārde, will welcome approximately 250 foreign visitors and ambassadors accredited in Latvia. Ahead of the final concert of the Song and Dance Celebration, the guests will hear about the role and significance of the Song and Dance Celebration in the history of our people, in the formation of the Latvian statehood, and in events presenting historic milestones for the state and people of Latvia. The song and dance festival tradition will also be outlined in an international context.
In Europe, this tradition has only been preserved and developed in the Baltic States, evolving with time into a symbol of their national identity. It is one of the manifestations of the Baltic States’ cultural heritage and the most significant demonstration of Latvian cultural identity in the 21st century. On 7 November 2003, UNESCO recognised the phenomenon of the Song and Dance Celebration in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania as a masterpiece of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity.
During the reception, the foreign visitors will have an opportunity to view several video stories on two screens. In cooperation with the LTV archives, fragments have been selected from Song and Dance Celebration concerts in 1990, 2008 and 2013. Footage of this year’s festive procession on 1 July will also be screened: the material has been compiled in association with LTV and the Latvian National Culture Centre.
Song Celebration posters, the concept of the final concert and its programme in English have been prepared together with the Ministry of Culture. The Latvian Institute has produced a special Song and Dance Celebration brochure. In buses, on their way to the final concert, the visitors will be accompanied by Live Riga tour guides, who will tell them about the historical and modern-day traditions of Latvia and the significance of the Song and Dance Celebration tradition for Latvia’s cultural scene.
The event manifests successful cooperation among Latvia’s public institutions in hosting visitors from abroad and ensures equal support from the State Protocol for the foreign guests of various ranks and posts, who are visiting Latvia during its Centenary Song and Dance Celebration.
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