World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Culture of Latvia

Article Id: WHEBN0011245046
Reproduction Date:

Title: Culture of Latvia  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Culture of Europe, European Institute of Cultural Routes, Compendium of cultural policies and trends in Europe, LGBT history in Latvia, Riga Stock Exchange
Collection:
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Culture of Latvia

A Latvian social club in Leeds, England.

The culture of Latvia combines traditional Latvian and Livonian heritage with influences of the country's varied historical heritage.

History

The area of Latvia has been inhabited since 9000 BC. Baltic tribes, the ancestors of present day Latvians, arrived around 3000 BC. In the 13th century after conquest of today's Latvia, Baltic Germans settled here and gradually became the upper class and rulers of Latvia, while Latvians and Livonians lost their positions finally becoming serfs in the 16th century. This caused the Germanisation of the educated inhabitants of other nationalities, yet preserved some local traditions. In the 19th century, when serfdom was abolished, a Latvian nationalist movement, the first "Latvian National Awakening", begun. Led by "Young Latvians", it encouraged Latvians to become artists and scholars, while preserving their cultural heritage and the language. The movement was countered by a period of Russification, followed by the leftist movement New Current at the beginning of the 20th century; it is regarded as a period in which Latvian culture thrived. This caused the second "Latvian National Awakening", leading ultimately to the proclamation of an independendent Latvia in 1918.

On 15 May 1934, Kārlis Ulmanis seized power in a coup d'etat and established an authoritarian regime, which lasted only until the outbreak of World War II and Soviet occupation in 1939-40. In cultural terms, however, this period is seen as a "golden age" for Latvia. During the war, with a period of German occupation from 1941–45, Latvia lost its independence as it was occupied by the USSR and became the Latvian SSR. Soviet rule ended in 1991 during the third "Latvian National Awakening".

People

The majority of inhabitants are Latvians. There is a culturally and linguistically distinct subgroup, the Latgalians, who inhabit the Latgale region in eastern Latvia. Another indigenous group are the Livonians, whose Finnic Livonian language is nearly extinct. The largest minority group is the Slavic people, notably Russians. Other well known minorities are Romani people, Baltic Germans and Jews, whose population decreased significantly after the Second World War, as well as Lithuanians and Estonians.

Regions

Historical regions of Latvia, together with Latvian cultural groups.

Latvia is divided into several cultural and historical regions - Vidzeme, Latgale, Courland and Zemgale. Sometimes, Sēlija and Maliena are also distinguished.

Folklore

Latvians have the rich heritage of traditional folklore, especially folk songs. Dating back well over a thousand years, more than 1.2 million texts and 30,000 melodies of folk songs have been identified.[1]

Literature

Music

Architecture

A form of traditional architecture in Latvia is log houses. The position of houses differs between regions. In western Latvia, single farms are more popular and in villages, the houses are positioned in a circle around a central square. In eastern Latvia, villages are more popular and houses are positioned along a main street. This is seen as an influence of nearby Russia.

Cultural canon

Launched in 2007 and now complete, the Lativan Cultural Canon was selected by a series of groups of experts in the areas of architecture and design, cinema, literature, music, stage art, national traditions and visual arts. It contains a total of 99 works.[2]

References

  1. ^ http://www.li.lv/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=40&Itemid=124
  2. ^ "Latvian Cultural Canon". Retrieved 17 January 2013.
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.