Independence Restoration Day 2017 and 2018
Latvia celebrates the Restoration of Independence Day on May 4 each year. The holiday celebrates the day in 1990 when the Republic of Latvia restored its independence after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
|2017||4 May||Thu||Independence Restoration Day|
|5 May||Fri||Independence Restoration Day Holiday|
|2018||4 May||Fri||Independence Restoration Day|
History of the Holiday
Latvia originally proclaimed its independence in 1918 which was internationally recognised two years later. However, in 1940, the Soviet Union invaded Latvia, claiming it was included in its borders under the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. The country became the Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic.
In the 1980s, Mikhail Gorbachev introduced reforms throughout the Soviet Union. These reforms led to active movements in various Soviet republics, including Latvia. Large demonstrations were held in Latvia, one of the first to begin pushing for independence. On May 4, 1990, Latvia proclaimed that its independence had been restored and it became official one year later.
The declaration of restoring independence was an important step in Latvia’s history. It ensured the continuity of the Republic of Latvia from before World War II. The people stood for their freedom and many lost their lives in the effort to regain independence.
Celebrations and Traditions
The people of Latvia celebrate Restoration of Independence Day much like they celebrate Independence Day in November. There are parades, choir performances and fireworks. In some cities, there are marching band competitions as well. Flags are displayed prominently throughout the country as a matter of pride.
In addition to celebrations, the Latvian people remember those who fought for the country to regain independence. The road to restore autonomy was difficult and many lost their lives in the battle to make Latvia its own country again. Therefore, people may visit the gravesite of those who died fighting for freedom.
In the town of Riga, concerts, athletic events and other performances celebrate the holiday. In addition, there is a flower carpet at the Freedom Monument. In the past, there have been hot air balloon festivals, family relays and sporting competitions held in the city on Restoration of Independence Day. Each year, a film marathon takes place at Splendid Palace. Rock bands perform free concerts in the evening.
The artistic world is also represented as part of Restoration of Independence Day. Towns and cities present artwork related to the fight for freedom in galleries while others offer creative workshops, exhibitions and displays. Many of the events planned are designed for children, including table tennis and athletic activities.