May days

14 Feb 2019

Workers of the world... relax! There are no more tanks, red flags or the ritual worship of Comrade Stalin’s moustache. May 1 (Labour Day/International Workers’ Day) is still a national holiday, but the fanfare that was part and parcel of May Day celebrations during the Soviet era have, for the most part, gracefully retired into the past. For those who would like a reminder, try visiting the Soviet Victory Monument on May 9 (Soviet Victory Day in 1945). You’ll most likely see a large contingent of Russian-speakers celebrating the defeat of Nazi Germany with food and drink and song and dance. Former Red Army soldiers will also have their medals pinned to their chests. For Latvians, May 9 is a sad reminder that the Soviets, who ‘liberated’ them from the Nazis, would now begin their own brutal occupation that claimed the lives of tens of thousands of innocent Latvians.
On the bright side, May 4 is another national holiday and one that celebrates a more positive aspect of local history – Latvia’s declaration of independence from the Soviet Union in 1990.


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