According to Wikipedia Latvian language dates back to the 16th century, when it first appeared in a print form. However, the spoken Latvian was formed over many centuries starting from the 13th century. It has survived many occupations, but still has a stable and green branch in the Indo-European language tree. Nowadays it is spoken by about 2 million people in Latvia and worldwide – everywhere where Latvians emigrated before, during and after the 1st and the 2nd World War. According to Wikipedia there are about 1.3 million native Latvian speakers in Latvia and 100,000 abroad. Besides Latvian language is one of the official European Union languages.
Latvians are proud of their language and culture. No doubt that strong belief in their nature Gods helped Latvians to keep their language alive. However, sometimes the word: proud is not enough to deeply experience the essence of Latvian culture, connected to philosophically rich folk songs, dances and literature. Latvian folk songs are to my opinion short poems, meditations about life and its true values.
Ieva Anchevska in her book “Latvian Healing Traditions”* writes that health in Latvian opinion is valued more than money. This Latvian folk song proves it:
“Bagāts lūdza naudas, mantas,
Es no Dieva veselību.
Bagātam, nauda, manta,
Man bija laba veselība.”
Translation into English:
"The rich asked for money, for things,
I from God - health.
The rich had money, possessions,
I had good health."
The Latvians keep it a tradition to meet every 4th year in a tremendous Latvian song and dance festival. Never heard about it? You can have a glimpse here:
Latvian folk songs mean a lot to Latvians. They even helped to gain independence from the Soviet regime in 1991. It was called the singing revolution.
Maybe being simply you and staying connected with wild and true nature will help you to make one step closer to Latvians and their culture. Every flower and tree has something to tell you.
If you decide to learn Latvian, you will help to keep one of the world’s smallest languages and their culture to live another century and longer. Interested to learn more about Latvians and their language, contact me.
I will be more than happy to meet you and be your teacher.
* Ančevska I. (2020) "Latviešu dziedināšanas tradīcija" publishing house: Zinātne