On June 23, the Embassies of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania in Washington, DC brought to the Dupont Circle the most popular holiday in their countries – the Midsummer, which is the celebration of the longest day and the shortest night of the year. The celebration in Latvia is known as Jāņi, in Estonia as Jaanipäev, and in Lithuania as Joninės.
The event was opened by the Latvian Ambassador Andris Teikmanis, Estonian Ambassador Lauri Lepik and the Deputy Chief of Mission of Lithuania Lyra Puišytė-Bostroem who agreed that the only authentic part missing from the event was a real bonfire. More than three thousand city inhabitants and guests enjoyed dancing by Baltic folk dance groups and ensembles – “Namejs” dance group representing Latvia, “Malunas” dance group representing Lithuania, and “Pillerkaar” dance group representing Estonia, as well as “JORE” folk ensemble representing Lithuania. The videos of the performances may be viewed on the Facebook page of the Embassy of Latvia.
The Embassy of Latvia would like to thank supporters – “Printful” for the Baltic centennial t-shirts, “Amrita” mineral water company, “Food Union” for the “Kārums” curd snacks, “Laima” for chocolates, “Coffee Pixels” for the edible coffee bars. Latvia also offered non-alcoholic beer, fermented “kvass” drink and traditional Midsummer cheese with caraway seeds. Visitors who managed to answer trivia questions about Latvia and the Baltic countries won themselves “Latvia 100” souvenirs – notebook, pen and pencil.
There was also a special kids’ corner with various workshops. Everyone had a chance to wear a flower wreath and take pictures behind the cutouts of the traditional Baltic costumes.
2018 is a very special year for Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania as all three celebrate the centennials of their modern statehood. Baltic countries have always had a strong partnership with the United States, therefore Baltic Centennial Midsummer was a great opportunity to celebrate this connection.
The three Embassies collaborated with “The Dupont Festival” in organizing the Baltic Centennial Midsummer.
Pictures from the event available of the Embassy's Flickr page.
Latvia celebrates its centennial in 2018 in the period of several years – 2017 to 2021. The main message of the celebration is “I am Latvia” emphasizing that the greatest asset of Latvia is its people who with their work are creating present day Latvia and together with the next generation are setting the foundation for the future. Baltic Centennial Midsummer celebration at Dupont Circle is part of the public diplomacy program of Latvia’s centennial.