It’s not often that culture is presented in a matrix of seven columns and twelve up to eighteen rows, as Latvia followed other European countries in lining up their pride and joy. Just the other day experts in seven categories selected and canonized what they considered to be the most significant Latvian cultural values, picking 99 traditions or works for sainthood. It has not been made apparent why these limiting parameters were chosen.
Here is the write up on this subject and list of the canons, hot off the press:
Latvijas kultūras kanonā iekļūst 99 darbi
This article from the Cultural Ministry describes the work-in-progress that was taking place in the selection of the canons.
Latvijas Kultūras kanona veidotāji aicina sabiedrību uz diskusiju par kultūras vērtībām
This home page for the Latvijas kultūras kanons provides the names of the participating experts and more detail about each canon that was selected.
Latvijas kultūras kanons
http://www.kulturaskanons.lv/1/ - (A quirk here? If double click does not work, try “copy and past” into the internet address box at the top of the screen.)
There is something unnatural and rigid about canons after all culture is supposed to be live, flexible and changing, not cast in concrete. Culture, of course, is not all about sainthood; it has its sins.
Let’s also consider the missing artifacts are “mūžīgais latviešu karavīrs,” ancient Latvian way of life and tautu dejas, as most influential in generating and shaping Latvian culture and ideological thinking.
One could think that the canons have been politicized and corrupted by introducing Christianity – Tautas kristietības tradicijas - while ignoring Latvian pagan traditions as a collective whole. As Latvia was the crossroad of wars and battles the Latvian warrior deserves cultural recognition far and wide beyond its territorial borders. It’s in the blood by now. I was surprised that tautu dejas was not included. There are 88 originals that were collected much in the same way Dainas were collected. During the trimda years Latvian folk dancing was the most visible and memorable cultural aspect in the minds other peoples. It helped to keep Latvia on the map.
Glad to see that the “Mērnieku laiki” made the cut. Without question the book is a jewel of a novel that captured the Latvian behavioral thinking and humor from the mid-19th century. Besides, it was the first novel written in Latvian.
I would be interested how other LOLers view the cultural canonization.