Exploring Latvian Culture

Latvia is truly blessed by wild nature and a natural harmony, where more wild wolves roam than in all north western Europe. Much of Latvia‘s coastline remains as it has been since time immemorial, untouched, and subject only to the changing seasons. The Latvian landscape includes numerous lakes, rolling hills, white beaches, plains, rivers, and pristine pine forests.

In addition to bucolic beauty, Latvia offers an enlightening journey of the mind through its castles, manor houses, churches, and architectural masterpieces. It is home to stunning works of art, fascinating museums, and world-class classical music and opera. It’s common to find celebratory folk festivals with dances, songs, poetry and traditional Latvian clothing.

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Latvian People and Community

A family in Latvia

Latvian families often spend lots of time together; many urban families own country cottages, where they go on the weekends and during holidays. It’s common for elderly people to live with their families. In Latvian culture, women usually do most of the housework. Those men who prepare meals and do the laundry are rare and are looked upon positively. Families in Latvia usually have one or two children.

Latvian’s identities are attached to their family’s home region. It is uncommon for Latvians to choose to move away from the area where they were born. Even if young people leave to seek employment or education, they come back to their hometowns for holidays and summers.

Language and Communication Styles

A market in Latvia

Latvian is the language of Latvia, which belongs to a Baltic branch of the Indo-European language family. Russian is also widely spoken, because there is a big Russian community in Latvia.

Food in Latvia

Latvian food varies depending on the region. Meat and potatoes are a major part of the diet, together with pastries, smoked fish, dairy products, eggs and grains. Soups and sausages are also popular. In summer and autumn, fresh berry pies and tarts are abundant.

Latvian food is delicious, fresh and, most importantly of all, it is natural and organic. Meals are lovingly prepared with Slow Food principles in mind. Riga is home to the biggest market in all of Europe, where the continent‘s largest selection of natural produce can be purchased. It is also a city that boasts hundreds of restaurants offering fine international cuisine from all corners of the globe.

While much of the world pursues a policy of mass food production, the Slow Food concept becomes ever more popular in Latvia. Blessed by four distinct seasons and one of the smallest population densities in Europe, the Latvian countryside is a natural haven for organic food enthusiasts tired of the short-sighted world of poor nutrition that is microwaved meals and factory-farmed food produce in other parts of Europe. Taste delicious local fruit and vegetables, untainted by chemicals and pesticides; pay witness to the Latvian rural idyll where small family-run farms continue to operate much in the same way as they have done for centuries, maintaining the traditional rural way of life for this ecologically-minded nation‘s next generation!

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