July 28, 2020
The information was prepared by Justine Deičmane, Head of the Media Center, Office of the President.
On July 28, during his visit to Alsunga and Kuldiga, President Egils Levits met with residents at the Alsunga Culture House to discuss the identity and development of the Suiti cultural space. The conversation in Alsunga continues the cycle of discussions initiated by E. Levita in the cultural and historical lands of Latvia before the submission of the initiative of the Presidential Law in the Saeima, which is expected in the autumn.
Opening the discussion, the President said: “Dear Suiti, the fact that you live the Suiti culture and traditions here is extremely important for every Latvian, because Latvianness is diverse. We need to emphasize this and sometimes rediscover it, because in Soviet times a flat Latvian culture was cultivated. concept without diversity, so it is very good that, in spite of everything, you have preserved through time your own specific cultural tradition and peculiarity due to historical circumstances, namely, you are a Catholic island in the Lutheran environment, and it proves two things. One of them is that Latvia has historically been distinguished on the map of Europe by the fact that there have been no major denominational wars that have plagued and devastated Europe for more than 100 years, leaving the territories completely empty in Central Europe. means that different religions can coexist here.This historical coexistence already unconsciously creates one position and view of the world. The skin, which is the basis of the Suiti peculiarity, has also strengthened this introverted Latvian, a view of himself, which is extremely important, because in order to give to others, you need to be aware of who you are. Suiti have always done this, say, automatically, but now, in recent times, it is done through various associations and events. Cultural tradition means transmission from generation to generation, because one generation cannot form a tradition. You have been able to do that, and I think that we, as a state and a nation, must appreciate this Suiti’s reverence for tradition. This is the basis of the Suiti cultural space and identity, which in turn is a very vivid part of the Latvian identity, which is immediately visible, therefore the state must support it with various support programs. Thank you for what you do! ”
Talking to the participants about what is characteristic of the Suiti tradition, where the power of the Suiti lies and how to achieve the inheritance of the tradition, a lot of valuable insights were made. For example, Dace Martinova, head of the Suiti Ethnic Cultural Center, emphasized that “preserving and inheriting the Suiti cultural heritage is an important aspect that needs support from the education sector, for example in the form of lifelong learning, as the process of inheriting traditions is weak in families. roof “. Lidija Jansone, the leader of the ethnographic ensemble “Gudenieku suiti”, also agreed that “nowadays the only hope for preserving the Suiti traditions is to actively pass on their knowledge to children”. In turn, the Speaker of the Suiti Parliament Grigorijs Rozentāls referred to the workshop held on July 24 in Riga Castle on the forthcoming initiative of the Presidential Law on Latvian Historic Lands, where it was emphasized that “cultural space can exist if there is a community, but community can exist only if the new generation is interested in maintaining it “. However, D. Martinova added that the Suiti community has been working hard on it, for example, at Alsunga Secondary School for several years once a week. classes have a regional lesson.
The President also heard the proposals of the discussants for the forthcoming law initiative on Latvian historical lands, which is planned to be submitted to the Saeima. g. in September. Substantiating the necessity of the draft law, E. Levits pointed out: “Latvian cultural and historical lands have their own identity, culture and language peculiarities, and this is an element of our culture that we must strengthen as a state. Latvia is a cultural state, and it means not only a cultural element but also a statehood. Latvia has emerged as a Latvian state, if there were no Latvians with their own language and traditions, then there would be no need for a Latvian state, culture and language are the basis of the Latvian state, and it belongs to our Satversme. the issue of Latvian lands is important for the possibility of state support programs for the creation, cultivation and development of cultural premises. “
Mr Rozentals emphasized the need to include a delegation in the bill to support cultural spaces, as economic activity is important for the younger generation to remain in the Suiti land: “Both an economic and cultural support program is needed for us to develop and stay afloat.” Maris Dadzis, Deputy Chairman of Ventspils County Council, also acknowledged the need for purposeful state support for the cultural space: “The main value of the Suiti land is cultural history. In recent years, the municipality has understood that these cultural and historical values must be materially supported.” D. Martinova, on the other hand, added that she is very much looking forward to stable state support so that long-term developments can be planned, but it is equally expected that the state will also act as an advisor.
Saeima deputy Janīna Kursīte-Pakule emphasized that suites are unique in the European and world cultural space: “I am always proud when I come here or hear about you. In turn, suits must be proud, because they have done a lot on their own. In 2009, suites entered UNESCO “Suiti has given and will give both Kurzeme and the whole of Latvia a list of intangible cultural heritage that must be ensured for immediate preservation. There is a lack of purposeful and systematic state support for this unique cultural space.”
Signe Pujāte, the head of the Latvian National Cultural Center, admitted: “The values of the Suiti many times heard today confirm the strength of the Suiti identity. The Suiti will always remain the first in Latvian cultural policy, but it must be remembered that money is not always the most important in cultural development. everything has to be done by the state. The core of the Suiti is important. Even in the face of difficulties and different views, go ahead! “
In turn, there was a strong desire among the listeners for their Suiti region, as well as it was expressed that the President invites to speak in Suiti and that Latvia has a President who cares about the pearls of Latvian culture. “We have all worked hand in hand to make the Suiti as luxurious as you see us today. 13 years ago, the Suiti was not like that. The Suiti is not a cornerstone who does not want to do anything, he just needs to be moved, and then he will go and do, “said a lady. It was also suggested that the President support the development of UNESCO-listed sites during his presidency.
In conclusion, the President thanked for the productive discussion, from which he has benefited a lot: “It is clear that adjustments are needed in the country’s long-term regional development policy, which must include the concept of solidarity – solidarity with all regions of Latvia, all parts of Latvia. its strength, primarily thanks to the people themselves, and that is good, because culture cannot be maintained artificially, it must come from people who feel part of it.Of course, the state and the municipality must also support culture, but it cannot cultivate it instead of people. culture is a sustainable phenomenon, so I would be in favor of institutional support, not in the form of projects, because it is not permanent, and this type of program would be the responsibility of the Ministry of Culture. that there must be an economic dimension here, in the suites, and that horizontal cooperation between municipalities must be strengthened, ” stressed E. Levits.
During the visit, the President also visited the historical heritage center “Suitu ķēķis” in Alsunga, but in Kuldīga he met with the representatives of Kuldīga County Council and the entrepreneurs of the county. Next, the President will visit the Kuldīga “Restoration Center” and visit the Kabile manor.
PHOTO: During his visit to Alsunga, President Egils Levits visits the historical heritage center “Suitu ķēķis” and holds a discussion on the identity and development of the Suiti cultural space at Alsunga Culture House
VIDEO: President Egils Levits, continuing the cycle of visits to Latvia’s cultural and historical lands and discussions on identity issues before submitting a legislative initiative to the Saeima, discusses the identity and development of the Suiti cultural space at Alsunga Culture House (discussion start 33:26 min)
Head of the Media Center
Office of the President