Proclamation Day of the Republic of Latvia

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A column of soldiers at a flower-laying ceremony at the Freedom Monument, November 18, 2016

Proclamation Day of the Republic of Latvia is celebrated annually on 18 November. It marks the anniversary of the Proclamation of Independence of Latvia by the People's Council of Latvia in 1918.


Torchlight procession in Riga, Latvia

Various public events take place all over the country, including concerts and fireworks. Torchlight processions held by various organizations have been part of Proclamation Day celebrations and Lāčplēsis Day celebrations since the 1920s.[1] The largest torchlight procession organized by the National Alliance takes place in the capital city Riga and attracts several thousand participants every year. Its route through the streets of the city centre traditionally starts at the monument of Kārlis Ulmanis, the first prime minister of Latvia, and ends at the Freedom Monument.[2][3] A popular modern tradition established in 2009, is for people all over the world to sing the Latvian national anthem Dievs, svētī Latviju! at the same time (21:00 EET).[4]


Another tradition with a long history is the Latvian National Armed Forces parade, which nowadays is held at 11 November Embankment in Riga and was reintroduced in 1998.[5][6][7] After the restoration of the independence, the first parade of the National Armed Forces took place in Riga at the Freedom Monument in 1993, which was dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Latvian state. The parade was also broadcast on Latvian Television. In 1998, the national holiday parade was held for the first time on 11 November Embankment. The limited and small area near the Freedom Monument was mentioned as the main reason for the change of the parade venue, as it did not allow the demonstration of all types of units of the National Armed Forces, as well as heavy weapons and military equipment. In 1998, armed formations of the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of the Interior, as well as a company from the Baltic Battalion, stood in the parade dedicated to the 80th anniversary of the proclamation of Latvia. For the first time, the Navy ships, which were anchored in the Daugava opposite the embankment, took part in the parade. There was also the introduction of a 21-gun salute from cannons fired from the Ballast Dam with 100 mm anti-tank cannons by soldiers of the Artillery Division of the Mobile Rifle Brigade. For the first time, the staff of all five National Guard brigades also took part in the National Day parade and the young guards of Kazdanga Agricultural Technical School marched as the closing unit. Since Latvia joined NATO in 2004, allied partner countries have participated in the parade.[8]


  1. ^ "Kronika" (in Latvian). Jaunības Tekas. 1 December 1923. Retrieved 1 April 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ "Several thousand people join Independence Day torchlight procession in Riga". The Baltic Times. 18 November 2017. Retrieved 19 November 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ "Nearly 14,000 people take part in torch procession in honour of November 18th". Baltic News Network. 19 November 2014. Retrieved 19 November 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ "Zatlers aicina 18. novembrī visā pasaulē kopīgi dziedāt Latvijas himnu" (in Latvian). 29 October 2010. Retrieved 1 April 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ "Military parade marks Latvia's Independence Day". Public Broadcasting of Latvia. 18 November 2015. Retrieved 19 November 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ "November 18 military parade will be largest since restoration of independence in Latvia". The Baltic Course. 17 November 2015. Retrieved 19 November 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ Ciganovs, Juris (11 November 2018). "FOTO: Militārās parādes Latvijā cauri laikiem" (in Latvian). Retrieved 21 July 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ "Parāde - tradīcija, kas vieno un demonstrē valsts spēku". (in Latvian). Retrieved 19 June 2020.

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