Hundreds of thousands of Latvians joined the festivities in the patriotic week between two major national holidays.
First of all, the nation celebrated the Day of Lāčplēsis. On
November 11, 1919, the Latvian Army defeated the much larger army of Count
Bermondt. This was definitive in gaining independence. The day is annually
remembered by lighting candles at the Daugava embankment by the Castle of Rīga.
This year, the Latvian Institute created a Facebook application „Light A Candle”. Several hundreds of Latvians abroad clicked the application, whereby local volunteers lit candles for them at the embankment.
Next came the astounding festival „Staro Rīga”. Half a million spectators enjoyed the light projections and installations all around the capital city. This was another highlight of Rīga as the European Capital of Culture, keeping up the pace of the programme.
The culmination of the week was the National Day on November 18. The 96th anniversary of Latvian independence was honoured by a military parade in Rīga, collective singing of the anthem and popular patriotic songs, as well as fireworks across the country.