Egils Levits Regional visits
13.05.2023. Valsts prezidenta Egila Levita uzruna Dziesmu svētku cildinājuma akmens svinīgajā atklāšanas pasākumā “Celiet mani uz akmeņa”

Dear friends! Dear Latvians!

There is no other nation in the world where the state and the nation are so closely intertwined with song.

The Song Festival, or as it was then called, the Singing Festival, grew out of folk singing, where people in parishes and villages came together and sang about their sorrows and joys.

In 1873, at the first Latvian Song Festival, Kārlis Baumanis' “God Bless Latvia” was sung, which later became the Latvian national anthem. Therefore, we can say that the Latvian national anthem, without which the Latvian state is unimaginable, was born during the Song Festival.

I must say that the Russian censors at the time were very well aware of what this meant. They understood that something more could grow from this Song Festival, right up to the Latvian State. That is why they banned the singing of “God Bless Latvia”. Latvians, as people who can find a way out even in the most difficult circumstances, sang this song with the words “God bless the Baltics”. This is how this song passed the censorship.

Later, in free Latvia, the Song Festival became the celebration which united the nation. As Mrs Kalniete said, the Song Festival was divided into two branches - the Song Festival in occupied Latvia and the Song Festival in exile. The Awakening was accompanied by singing at the big manifestations in Mežaparks, Daugavmala.

This stone will be a symbol of this spirit of songs, which is woven into Latvia's statehood and Latvian self-understanding. A Latvian cannot imagine himself without singing. Every five years, in the great singing together - Song Festival - we fill ourselves with Latvian spirit, with the idea of nation and state.

I wish all the participants in this beautiful evening always to be aware that song and Latvia are inseparable concepts. Two sides of the same thing. Latvia and song, song and Latvia.

I thank Mrs Kalniete for this idea of honour stone - a visible symbol of our singing spirit, which has carried us through difficult times and with which we stand together in good times.

May ideal Latvia flourish this summer as we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Song Festival tradition!

13.05.2023. Valsts prezidents Egils Levits un Andra Levite piedalās Dziesmu svētku cildinājuma akmens svinīgajā atklāšanas pasākumā “Celiet mani uz akmeņa”