Latvia turns 100 - but how to celebrate?

Latvia will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the proclamation of its independence on November 18, the last of the three Baltic states to do so after Estonia and Lithuania celebrated theirs. But the country is divided over how to balance revelry and remembrance.

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Dienas Bizness (LV) /

Mittens can't replace proper commemoration

The office that's planning and organising the celebrations has proposed that Latvians wear and give each other homemade mittens on November 18. Even if in Latvia no stylish outfit is complete without mittens this is inappropriate, writes business paper Dienas bizness:

“Of course it's not the mittens' fault. Nevertheless, such small, endearing and very social activities would alter the significance of our national holiday. Instead of giving each other mittens we'd do better to honour the founders of the Latvian state and commemorate the chronology of the nation's establishment. ... Of course we can also do that wearing patterned mittens. ... Nevertheless the best approach would be to spend the holiday reflecting on what happened to us on this day in the past and what is happening today.”

Diena (LV) /

Don't worry about thick fog

One major bone of contention this year is that the cost of the fireworks display has skyrocketed from last year's 10,000 euros to 235,000 euros. The state just can't get it right as far as the people are concerned, Diena comments:

“The weather doesn't always play along on this day. ... That's why the media are already moaning: why do we have to waste so much money when people are dying of hunger and terrible diseases? ... On the other hand: if there are no fireworks the same people will accuse the state of robbing the people of one of their biggest treats. But maybe there's an entirely different solution: if there really is a thick fog on the state's 100th birthday, instead of fireworks we should shoot all the dissatisfied grumblers into the sky.”