The Latvian Song and Dance Festival is Over.

The Saint Paul Latvian Song and Dance Festival is over but if you missed it, you have more opportunities to see, and maybe even participate (if you’re a member of a choir and it is invited to take part) in Rīga, Latvia in 2023 and in Toronto, Canada in 2024. Start saving your money and renew your passport.

The Festival always begins with a procession.

Tickets for these summer events go on sale early in the year and sell out quickly. There are usually several hotels where blocks of rooms will be reserved for attendees. These also go quickly. If you value a good night’s sleep, don’t reserve a room at the main event hotel. The partying will probably go on all night, not just in the public rooms but also in individual hotel rooms. I was at one such festival after-party in a hotel room in Pasadena, California. The room was crowded but I didn’t think we were all that noisy. However, hotel security came to shush us. We weren’t even dancing or anything though we might have been singing a little.

Don’t you just love those lace socks?

Contrary to what the “Visit St. Paul” website said, it was not the largest Latvian Song and Dance Festival in the world. Only 8000 visitors were expected. The largest festival, of course, was the one held in Rīga from June 30 to July 8 in 2018. That year was the 100th anniversary of Latvia’s original declaration of independence in November 1918.

My cousin and her husband were at the 2018 festival. He said there were so many participants in the procession that he and his wife went to lunch and when they came back the procession was still marching along.

These events are such a huge part of Latvian cultural heritage that I had to write about them again. Every third person in Latvia belongs to a choral group. I wonder what it would be like if 110 million Americans sang in a choir?

Since 2008 the Latvian Song and Dance Festival has been recognized by UNESCO as “one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.”

I wrote this post primarily as a way to introduce this YouTube video, which I think is pretty cool.


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6 thoughts on “The Latvian Song and Dance Festival is Over.”

  1. The parade procession for the 2018 Riga Song and Dance Festival lasted five (5) hours because there were so many participants in the events and administrative work involved. I was able to attend the esplanade event and several smaller events but there was only one dance performance and it sold out very early before I could enter the website.


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