Ireland, Peru to join in ‘Gaismas tilti’ event

It won’t be just folks in Latvia going Aug. 22 to their favorite local bridge to light lanterns in honor of Latvia’s 90th anniversary. Latvians in Ireland and Peru will be doing the same, says a Ministry of Defense spokeswoman.

The event, “Gaismas tilti” (Bridges of Light), is being coordinated by the ministry as part of the year-long “Iededzies par Latviju!” project. Across Latvia, residents are invited to go to a bridge at 21:00 hours to light lanterns. The date, Aug. 22, is 90 days before Independence Day, Nov. 18.

In Ireland, the Latvian Association for Latvians in Ireland (Latviešu apvienība latviešiem Īrijā, or LALI) is calling on community members to congregate at 21:00 hours at the Flower Hill Road bridge in Navan, about 50 kilometers northwest of Dublin. Lanterns will be placed on the bridge and participants will hear dedications from “Gaismas tilts” ambassadors, including writer Nora Ikstena, folklorist Ilga Reizniece, director Māra Ķimele, artist Imants Lancmans, stylist Žanna Dubska and conductor Māris Sirmais.

Instructions for making lanterns are available on LALI’s Web site,

In Lima, Peru, the small Latvian community will gather to light lanterns at 21:00 hours in Parque República de Letonia, a park in the Miraflores district named for Latvia. President Valdis Zatlers dedicated the park during a May visit to Peru. The park, at Calle Ocharán and the Malecón de Miraflores, overlooks the Pacific Ocean.

About 200 bridges in 146 municipalities in Latvia will be sites for the “Gaismas tilts” event, according to Līga Ivanova, regional media coordinator for the Ministry of Defense. Further information about the event is available by visiting

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

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