Latvian Song and Dance festival is a Latvian tradition since 1873. It is happening once in 5 years. This Latvian Song and Dance festival was even more special because this is 100th anniversary year of Latvia. Latvia was founded in 1918.
I would like to tell you about this special event and I will try to explain to you how it is.
Have you ever experienced a choir of 18000 singers on the stage singing the same song at the same time? Have you ever seen 18000 dancers dancing the same dance together?
It is a big thing for Latvians. It is one of the things that boost our patriotism and cultural belonging.
This was my 4th Song and Dance festival where I have participated. 3 times in Dance festival and 2 times in Song festival. Yes, you can also do both.
There are many Latvians who want to participate but not all of them can. The spaces are limited. There is competition to get the place and to be one of the participants.
Dancers create beautiful traditional signs which are changing often and many times. They have to train a lot to learn how to do it. There is the main author of the choreography which leads them during rehearsals.
Singers have to know all the songs of the concert. Every chord has to be precise. You have to sing well to be able to keep your voice in the right tone. There is the main dirigent, and many of them, who lead those thousands of singers and musicians to match the right rhythm and to keep it good. They also add the emotions so everyone has to look at the dirigent to follow it right. Every word has to be pronounced precisely by all of the choir so the audience could hear it right.
And now a little bit about the emotions. They are amazing! The feeling I had I cannot even explain.
“It is not even possible to explain what Song and Dance festival means to a Latvian soul!”
It is fantastic to be a part of that big choir! It is amazing to be a part of that event. Historical moment!
This year there were around 16 500 singers and audience of 80 000 people. There were songs we all sang together. Just imagine: ~100 000 people singing the same song at the same time together!
Those are incredible moments!
I still remember the feelings I got when I stepped on the stage! Instant happiness and endorphins and Latvian pride took my heart. I am proud to be Latvian!
It is a magical moment! Songs we sing are full of lyrics about love and free and independent Latvia. Our country is young and we still need to protect it, each of us! With this festival, we activate the feeling of our cultural belonging! Speaking about that, there are Latvians who nowadays live abroad. They live there since they were forced to go outside of their country during war times. They went to the USA, Canada, Australia and other countries. And they founded there some local choirs and dance groups. They learn the songs and dances which are required for the upcoming festival and they also can participate! If I would be abroad, I also would join a group like that!
There are some songs we repeat even two times. We just like them so much!
The lyrics of the songs are so meaningful for Latvians! That means a lot!
During this festival, I feel that Latvians are so great! Amazing people! Latvians are united! And that makes me feel that together Latvians could do everything!
When we sing those songs and when we really sing them will all the heart then tears start to fall over our cheeks. Those are tears of happiness. Some friends in the audience told me that they had the same. But I could say that you get bigger emotions if you are one of those who sings.
After the final concert of the Latvian Song and Dance festival in Mežaparks, every time there is “sadziedāšanās”. It means- united singing together. And it is literally singing together, all those thousands of people, till the morning.
That means that to get to the concert which starts at 8pm, you should be there at 7pm at least. The concert is about 4h and then this united singing is usually till 8am or maybe even 9am. Next day is a holiday! So people want to stay there to feel the magical atmosphere we don’t get that often to feel. Concert for about 12h! That is incredible!
Of course, this event is included as one of UNESCO heritage!
We experienced such a Latvian atmosphere, we were united in a song!
Everyone was so happy!
There were Latvian songs all night long!
There is a saying that Latvians are the nation of music!
When we were on our way home with trams, we were singing even in trams. We call those as Singing trams.
We sing all the traditional songs while we get home.
Everyone is singing! Everyone who knows the lyrics.
I was shocked in a good way when I heard that American Latvians are singing those songs as well! And they knew all the lyrics! Isn’t that great? They come especially to get to this festival however they were born in the USA.
That is great to know that wherever they are, Latvians always keep to traditions!
And then, when it gets darker, the light appears and it gives even more emotional feelings. And then audience add flashlights… such romantic and patriotic feelings!
This is a real celebration of the song!
Singers and also audience use to make waves of people time after time. That is a good and attractive energizer!
And some videos:
To see the full concert of the Song festival 2018:
To see the full concert of the Dance festival 2018: