Guernsey Press

Latvians celebrate their own Liberation Day

MEMBERS of Guernsey’s Latvian community sang the country’s national anthem as its flag was raised at the Weighbridge on Friday evening in celebration of the country’s independence.

Members of the Latvian community in the island gathered at the Weighbridge to celebrate Restoration of Independence Day

Restoration of Independence Day commemorates 4 May 1990, when Latvia became independent after 50 years under Soviet Union rule.

Among those present was Raina Gallie, who has lived in Guernsey for the past 24 years.

‘There were about 10 of us this year,’ she said. ‘Over the years it’s less and less. Before we were quite a big community.’

Many of her compatriots had returned home as their work permits expired, she said.

The country’s flag was raised alongside the Guernsey and Union ones.

But for those who remain, the ceremony, which has taken place locally since 2006, was an opportunity to meet up with friends as well as celebrate the day.

Back home Mrs Gallie said the event resembled Liberation Day.

‘Everybody is out in the streets, it’s a national day off and we have parades, and every year people gather around the Freedom Monument in Riga.’

The day has been given a nickname in recent years, she said.

‘We call it White Tablecloth Day. We put out a white tablecloth and everybody brings something to the table, not necessarily food, it can be just kindness or something like that.’

Those who went to the flag raising were able to enjoy piragi, small pies traditional at times of celebration that had been baked by honorary consul Lilita Kruze.

‘I wish every Latvian in Guernsey to celebrate our freedom with families and friends. Best wishes to all who love and support Latvia,’ said Ms Kruze, who was unable to attend the flag-raising.