Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans, Dumplings

11 November is Lacplesis Day in Latvia. This day isn't, like it is for most of the rest of the world, celebrated for the end of WWI. It's celebrated for the victory over the Bermontian Army at the battle of Riga in 1919.

Tonight in Riga, the east bank of the Daugava River will be amass with bodies and lights. The brick walls of the presidential palace will be lined with people lighting candles and sticking them into any free space, warm with the smell of melting wax and an atmosphere thick with patriotism. Folk groups will perform, singing old songs of battle and victory, people will gather at small bonfires scattered along the normally traffic-busy, but now closed off, main river-front street.

I want to be there. I want to walk the crowds with my friends and complain about the cold, split a box of pelmeni and drink kvass from a glass bottle. I want to light my own candles for remembrance.