In support to the initiative of the Latvian Centenary Bureau, the Latvian Institute invites Latvians in and outside Latvia together with their loved ones to take part in the “White Tablecloth Celebration” on May 4, the Independence Restoration Day. To encourage people to prepare for this celebration, as the weather got warmer, the staff of the Latvian Institute organized its own “try-out” version of the “White Tablecloth Celebration” in a courtyard of Āgenskalns neighborhood in Rīga on April 7.

The “White Tablecloth Celebration” idea is simple: family, friends and neighbors from the same house or several neighboring houses get together around the same table, share a light jointly prepared meal, as well as use the chance to discuss the future plans of their courtyard, neighborhood, city, region and country. The anniversary of the Declaration of Independence of Latvia that was a deciding factor and a new beginning for Latvia in 1990 could further serve as an inspiration to many other essential initiatives.

The ideas for the “White Tablecloth Celebration” are many, for instance, neighbors could plant flowers together, decorate their house, courtyard, or paint a fence. Playing a musical instrument or singing together, as well as preparing a meal, Nordic walking, riding bikes around the block, positive competitions, or simply getting to know each other, or strengthening neighborly relations could easily be a part of the celebration as well.

The Latvian Institute invites everyone, who will celebrate this event together with their neighbors on May 4 or other dates around that time in Latvia or other countries of the world, to capture this moment on camera and share the photos on social media, adding a hashtag #mans4maijs or #BaltaisGaldauts. We encourage people to post photos with these hashtags on, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Instagram, and through other channels.

The “White Tablecloth Celebration” will also serve as a starting point for a new initiative of the Latvian Institute – the opening of the new official Facebook account in Latvian “Kaut kas mīļš no Latvijas” (“Something lovely from Latvia”). We invite everyone, who speaks Latvian in and outside of Latvia, to join this community. “With this Facebook page we would like to join all Latvians and Latvia’s friends, who know Latvian, all around the world in one joint virtual network,” says the Director of the Latvian Institute, Aiva Rozenberga.

Employees of the Latvian Institute can assure you that organizing a “White Tablecloth Celebration” does not require a lot of resources or effort, but in return it creates many positive emotions. We learned, for example, how many white tablecloths everyone owns, how many traditional Latvian things everyone has at home, and how often do we think about what Latvia means to us.

The Latvian Institute promotes knowledge about Latvia internationally. It includes preparing and disseminating print, audiovisual and interactive information materials, as well as organization of events explaining Latvia. All materials produced by the Latvian Institute are freely accessible to anyone for representational purposes.

Pictures from the “White Tablecloth Celebration” of the Latvian Institute staff in spring 2016: