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Latvian Culture

The culture in Latvia has a strong influence by Latvian folklore and by the people of the country and how attached they are to their homeland. Many Christian rituals are intertwined with ancient customs. Pagan symbols, which are geometric, are still seen throughout the applied arts of Latvia.

The literature in the country of Latvia was primarily started by the epic national poem called Lacplesis, which translates to the Bear Slayer, written by Andrejs Pumpurs and based on traditional folk tales. The largest figure in Latvian literature is Janis Rainis who Latvians say would be compared to the great authors of the world had he not written in a lesser known language. Latvian written verses are short and poetic and often compared to the Japanese haiku. Krisjanis Barons wrote large collections of folk tunes and lyrics in the 19th century.

The first painter to have international acclaim was Janis Rozenntals, in the early 1900's, as he painted scenes of peasant life as well as portraits. Two great landscape artists of the early 1900's were Vilelms Purvitis and Janis Valters. One artist who was from the Gypsy community of Latvia is Karlis Rudevics who translated gypsy poetry as well as painted scenes of Gypsy legends.

The language of Latvia is one of only two that have survived from the family of Indo-European languages. Around half of the people of the country speak it as their primary language as there are different dialects in the east and the west portion of Latvia.

The Latvian people are decedents of the tribes such as the Lett, Selonians, Semigallians, and the Cours. In every one of the largest seven cities in the country there are more Russians than Latvians. Almost a quarter of a million Latvians have emigrated mainly to the countries of Canada, The United States, Australia, England, and Germany.

In Latvia smoked foods are popular as are dairy products, eggs, potatoes, and grains. The leading beer of Latvia is Aldaris. There is one drink that is special in Latvia which is called Riga BlackBalsm. This is a black thick mixture which is 45-proof and tastes terrible. It has been made in Latvia since 1755.


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    Sandis Viksna
    The Daily Latvia . COM
The Daily Latvia - An Interactive Guide To Riga And Latvia

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