Song Festival Relics. 1873–2018
The exhibition is on view: 30 June – 1 october.
The original “Līgo” flag of the 1st All Latvian Singing Festival is on view: 30 June – 10 July.
Latvian Song Festival relics are precious and venerable mementoes about the most important Latvian national festival in Latvia.
This year, it is 150 years since the Riga Latvian Society, urged by its leading figures in cultural life, organized the first All Latvian Song Festival in Riga in 1873. In the course of history, the festival has become the symbol of the unity of the nation and national identity.
The Museum of the History of Riga and Navigation has preserved the historical evidence of the Song Festival, starting from the first regional song festival in Dikļi in 1864 to the 26th All Latvian Song Festival in Riga in 2018.
This exhibition features the All Latvian Song Festival relics: badges of the members and conductors, prizes of the singing contests and special flags of the Song Festival after the adoption of the Declaration of Independence of Latvia in 1990. The original “Līgo” flag of the 1st All Latvian Singing Festival is on show during the first week of the exhibition at the time of the 27th Song Festival.
It was already during the first Song Festival that a beautiful tradition was created of rewarding the best choirs with ornamental tips of flagpoles and buckles on silk ribbons. The flag ferrules featured silver lyres – the large and the small ones, to designate the highest and lowest awards respectively. Silver cups and tankards also were given as the Song Festival awards to the best choirs. The engraved inscription on these relics contains the name of the award winner. Traditionally, the best conductors were feted and awarded conductor’s batons.
The festival participant’s badge is an integral part of all Song Festivals – made of gold, silver or white metal, some in coloured ribbon rosettes. Although dainty, it contains information about the festival as a special, unique event. In addition, the badges have always served to identify the participants.
The Song Festival relics complement the exhibits related to the Song Festivals on display at the permanent exhibition of the Museum.
The original “Līgo” flag of the 1st All Latvian Singing Festival. 1873. Made in Germany, Leipzig. Silk, velvet, brocade, embroidered, tinted with color. Collection of the Museum of the History of Riga and Navigation.
The 1st All Latvian Singing Festival member badge. 1873. Collection of the Museum of the History of Riga and Navigation.
The first award of the 4th All Latvian Song and Music Festival (in Jelgava) – the flagpole tip, 1895. Collection of the Museum of the History of Riga and Navigation.
The flag of the XX All Latvian Song Festival. 1990. Idea and drawing of artist Ilmārs Blumbergs, made by Ausma Apša. Collection of the Museum of the History of Riga and Navigation.