How to talk to children about the celebrations of November?
It’s not for nothing that the month of November is called the month of patriots – during November we celebrate the day of Lāčplēsis and the day of the proclamation of independence of Latvia.
The feeling of patriotism is something children can start feeling from early childhood when they see how adults put the little ribbon in the colours of the Latvian flag on their chest, how they put up the Latvian flag and cook the celebratory dinner in the eve of celebrations. That is why it’s important to also talk to children about what exactly we celebrate these days for and what historic events happened on these days. It is possible, that for some time you’ll have to repeat these stories every year, however, there is value in being patient – with time these facts and the patriotic feeling will stay with the child.
What to tell a child about the day of Lācplēsis
Children understand many things in a very direct way, so it’s common that the day of Lāčplēsis is understood as something to do with a bear or Lācplēsis itself (Lāčplēsis is a character from Latvian folklore, that directly translates to the conqueror of bears). In reality, that is the day after the First World War when Riga was freed from the intruders and Latvia gained the hope and confidence in being independent at last. The name of the Day of Lācplēsis came around because the character itself has the ears and the strength of a bear and he became the symbol of braveness and gained the love and support of the whole country.
The 18th of November – the birthday of Latvia
The easiest way how to talk about the celebrations that take place on the 18th of November is to compare it with a birthday. Children understand that birthdays are something important and joyful – that lets the children understand the real meaning of the 18th of November as well. You can tell the child, that on that day more than 100 years ago brave and ambitious Latvians decided that Latvia has to be proclaimed as a free and independent country so that in the future Latvians themselves could decide how to live in and govern the country.
Some facts, that children could easily remember
On the Day of Lāčplēsis, while remembering the fallen soldiers, there is the tradition of putting up candles. It is usually done either in special places of remembrance or at home.
On the Day of Lāčplēsis there is the tradition of having a celebratory procession/walk of torchlights throughout different Latvian cities in the honour of the fight for the Latvian freedom.
In the birthday of Latvia, the number “18” appears two times – once in the year (1918) and once in the date (the 18th of September).
These events are so old, that the parents or the grandparents of children of today’s world have not experienced them.
Latvia has its own symbols – a flag, an anthem and an emblem.
During the celebrations of November, many families also decorate their homes in the colours of the flag – dark red and white.
The used sources for this publication are www.liveriga.com; www.saeima.lv