Midsummer Holidays Are Important In Northern Europe – Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania

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In the Baltics –  EstoniaLatviaLithuania and Quebec (Canada), the traditional Midsummer day, June 24, is a public holiday. So it was formerly also in Sweden and Finland, but in these countries it was, in the 1950s, moved to the Friday and Saturday between June 19 and June 26, respectively.

European midsummer-related holidays, traditions, and celebrations are pre-Christian in origin. They are particularly important in geographic Northern Europe – Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – but is also very strongly observed in Poland, Russia, Belarus, Germany, Netherlands, Ireland, parts of the United Kingdom (Cornwall especially), France, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Spain, Ukraine, other parts of Europe, and elsewhere – such as Canada, the United States, Puerto Rico, and also in the Southern Hemisphere (mostly in Brazil, Argentina and Australia), where this imported European celebration would be more appropriately called “Midwinter”.

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Midsummer, also known as St John’s Day, or Litha is the period of time centered upon the summer solstice, and more specifically the Northern European celebrations that accompany the actual solstice or take place on a day between June 21 and June 25 and the preceding evening. The exact dates vary between different cultures. The Christian Church designated June 24 as the feast day of the early Christian martyr St John the Baptist, and the observance of St John’s Day begins the evening before, known as St John’s Eve.
These are commemorated by many Christian denominations. In Sweden the Midsummer is such an important festivity that there have been serious discussions to make the Midsummer’s Eve into the National Day of Sweden, instead of June 6. It may also be referred to as St. Hans Day.
Midsummer is also sometimes referred to by Neopagans and others as Litha, stemming from Bede’s De temporum ratione which provides Anglo-Saxon names for the months roughly corresponding to June and July as se Ærra Liþa and se Æfterra Liþa (the “early Litha month” and the “later Litha month”) with an intercalary month of Liþa appearing after se Æfterra Liþa on leap years. The fire festival or Lith- Summer solstice is a tradition for many pagans.
Solstice celebrations still centered on the day of the astronomical summer solstice. Some choose to hold the rite on June 21, even when this is not the longest day of the year, and some celebrate June 24, the day of the solstice in Roman times.
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In Latvia, Midsummer is called Jāņi also called John’s Celebration (Jānis being Latvian for John ) or Līgo svētki (svētki = festival). It is a national holiday celebrated from the night of June 23 through June 24 on a large scale by almost everyone in Latvia and by people of Latvian origin abroad. Celebrations consist of a lot of traditional and mostly pagan elements – eating Jāņi cheese (special recipe with caraway seeds), drinking beer, baking pīrāgi, singing hundreds of Latvian folk songs dedicated to Jāņi, burning bonfires to keep light all through the night and jumping over it, wearing wreaths of flowers (for women) and oak leaves (for men) together with modern commercial products and ideas.
There are tens and hundreds of different beliefs and traditions all over Latvia on what should be done on that day for good harvest, for predicting the future, for attracting your future spouse etc. People decorate their houses and lands with birch or sometimes oak branches and flowers as well as leaves, especially fern. In rural areas livestock is also decorated. In modern days small oak branches with leaves are attached to the cars in Latvia during the festivity. Jāņi has been a strong aspect of Latvian culture throughout history, originating in pre-Christian Latvia as an ancient fertility cult.

In the western town of Kuldīga, revellers mark the holiday by running naked through the town at three in the morning. The event has taken place since 2000. Runners are rewarded with beer, and police are on hand in case any “puritans” attempt to interfere with the naked run.

Source: Baltic Media

Baltic Media Language Training Centre to resume on-site group and individual classes

Baltic Media Language Training Centre to resume on-site group and individual classesBaltic Media Language Training Centre to resume on-site group and individual classes

Baltic Media Language Training Centre resumes on-site language classes on 1 June, 2020 in strict compliance with all national precautionary measures. Our on-site classes will gather no more than 5 people per group and keep 2m distance between the students themselves and the tutor as well as provide the necessary disinfection means in all study rooms. For the sake of safety, both the tutor and students will wear face masks. After each class, the rooms will be disinfected and ventilated.
We also continue to offer online language courses for those who are still outside Riga or consider this way of learning more appropriate. Online classes take place in Zoom, Skype, Discord or similar platforms in which the tutor can communicate with students, share study materials and use various audio or visual means.

Baltic Media Language Training Centre to resume on-site group and individual classesBaltic Media Language Training Centre to resume on-site group and individual classesBaltic Media Language Training Centre to resume on-site group and individual classesBaltic Media Language Training Centre to resume on-site group and individual classesBaltic Media Language Training Centre to resume on-site group and individual classesBaltic Media Language Training Centre to resume on-site group and individual classes

 

Since 2011, Language Training Center Baltic Media is an accredited educational institution of the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Latvia. The State Education Development Agency has accredited, licensed the following educational programs of Baltic Media Language Learning Center:
Type of programs: Professional growth and personal development (non-formal adult education). Educational documents – certificate.

To find out our on-site and online course schedule click here.

Baltic Media Ltd., Elizabetes iela 11, Office No. 1
LV-1010 Rīga Latvia/Lettonie

Valodu kursi +371 67 224 395
Valodu kursi +371 29 44 68 45

Useful words and phrases in Latvian

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Around a million and a half people consider Latvian to be their native language, of whom most, or ca. 1.4 million, live in Latvia. Latvian is a rare language; it is part of the Indo-European language family and together with Lithuanian forms the Baltic branch. The Latvian language began to emerge in the VII Century as the languages of the ancient Latvian tribes – the Latgalians, Semigallians and Selonians – fused, incorporating many borrowed words from the language of the Livonians, a Finno-Ugric tribe of Latvia.

Also, shades of the German, Scandinavian, Old Russian and Latin languages have influenced the Latvian language over the course of the centuries.

It is worth remembering that Latvian is related to Lithuanian, yet the languages are not mutually freely intelligible to their speakers. Whereas in the third Baltic country, Estonia, the completely different Estonian language is spoken, which belongs to the Finno-Ugric family. It also has to be noted that in Latvia, especially in Riga and the second largest city, Daugavpils, a large segment of the local population are ethnic Russian and thus, speak Russian.

While travelling in Latvia, some frequently used Latvian phrases may come in handy:

Expressions of politeness

Thank you – Paldies

Please/you’re welcome – Lūdzu

Good morning – Labrīt

Good day/afternoon – Labdien

Good evening – Labvakar

Hello/greetings – Sveicināti

Good-bye/see you again – Uz redzēšanos

Good night – Ar labu nakti

Cheers! – Priekā!

Useful words

Yes – Jā

No – Nē

Taxi – Taksometrs

Bus/coach – Autobuss

Shop – Veikals

Police – Policija

Currency exchange – Valūtas maiņa

Hotel – Viesnīca

 

Source: Latvia Travel

Radoši un iekļaujot visneiedomājamākajās nodarbēs. Latviešu valodas apguves metodes ārvalstīs

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Strādāt latviešu skoliņā skolotājām ārpus Latvijas ir sirdsdarbs. Tā secinājis Latvijas Radio, aptaujājot latviešu skoliņu skolotājas no teju visiem kontinentiem. Viņas skoliņās nonākušas līdz ar nepieciešamību saviem bērniem apgūt dzimto valodu. Un tieši apgūt, ne vienkārši mācīties, dzīvojot ārpus Latvijas. 

Berlīnē valodu māca pat caur animāciju

Berlīnes Latviešu skolas radošā skolotāja Ieva Kunga skolā nokļuvusi mirklī, kad pašas meitai apritējuši trīs gadi.

„Sāku meklēt, kur Berlīnē mana meita varētu apgūt latviešu kultūru un tradīcijas, un atklāju, ka ir nodibināta latviešu skoliņa. Mani uzreiz aicināja, lai es nāku. Un tad tā pamazām mani ievilka, sakot, – ak tā, tev ir pedagoģiskā izglītība -, un tā tas aizgāja. Šobrīd vadu radošās nodarbības jauniešu grupai un strādāju arī ar vidējo jaunāko grupu, un uz manām nodarbībām jātaisa saraksts, kurš iekļūst telpā, jo es mēģinu radoši mācīt valodu,” Latvijas Radio raidījumā “Globālais latvietis. 21. gadsimts” atklāj skolotāja.

Ievas veiksmes stāsts ir fakts, ka viņa studējusi tehnoloģijas un ir zinoša to pielietošanā, arī valodu apguvē, līdz ar to  viņa savās mācību stundās, tostarp apgūstot latviešu valodu, spēj pieiet radoši un aizraut bērnus valodas mācībās pat neiedomājamos veidos.

„Ikdienā es strādāju ar jaunām dizaina tehnoloģijām un tā varu apvienot latviešu kultūras mantojuma apgūšanu ar citu skatupunktu un padarīt mūsdienīgākas pasniegšanas metodes,” stāsta Ieva un atklāj, ka arī, piemēram, mācot par kādu Latvijas mākslinieku, cenšas bērnus iesaistīt šīs mākslas apgūšanā.

Lielākais Ievas veikums Berlīnes skolā ir animācijas filmas “Viens zemnieks brauc uz mežu” izveidošana. Tās pamatā ir latviešu tautas rotaļa ar tādu pašu nosaukumu. Animācijas filma ir Berlīnes Latviešu skolas pusaudžu grupas lielākais šī gada projekts, kas pirmizrādi piedzīvojusi šogad 15. jūnijā, bet tā ir tikai pirmā daļa, jo turpinājums sekos.

“Lai saņemtos veidot animācijas filmu, vajadzēja pusotru gadu, proti, tik ilgs bija sagatavošanās process,” stāsta skolotāja. Filmēšana ilgusi vienas Lieldienu brīvdienas, ko bērni pavadījuši ar viņu. Vispirms labā kvalitātē ierakstījuši dziesmu, veidojuši lelles un dekorācijas.

“Katrai lellei izstrādājām dzīves gājumu, jo latviešu tautas dziesmā “Zemnieks brauc uz mežu” tas nebija tikai zemnieks un tikai brauc uz mežu. Zemnieks ņem sievu, bērni pērk internetā un viņiem ir kaķis, kurš ir veģetārietis un neēd gaļu. Tādējādi mēs animācijas filmā, kas balstīta uz latviešu tautas dziesmu, ievijām visu, kas ir aktuāls bērniem, kuri dzīvo 21. gadsimta Vācijā. Tas viss bija bērnu izdomāts, lai latviešu tautasdziesmu pārnestu uz mūsdienu vidi,” klāsta Ieva.

Tas ir veids, kas strādā, Latvijas Radio atzīst citas skolotājas. Skolā valodu apgūst ļoti dažādi, dejojot, dziedot, praktiski strādājot.

Valstīs un kontinentos atšķiras mācību metodes 

“Skola gan Amerikā, gan Austrālijā atšķiras no Eiropas jaunajām skolām, kaut gan arī te ir skolas ar senām tradīcijām, kā Londonas un Stokholmas latviešu skolas. Tās atšķiras ar tradīcijām un vecāku motivētību. Austrālijā un Amerikā joprojām priekšmetus apgūst pa priekšmetiem, ir latviešu valoda, ir vēsture, ģeogrāfija. Bet Eiropas skolās to apgūst integrēti un radoši, kopā dažādus priekšmetus,” Latvijas Radio stāsta Latviešu valodas aģentūras diasporas projektu koordinatore Aija Otomere. Tomēr, lai saņemtu Latvijas valsts finansējumu, ir jābūt atsevišķām latviešu valodas nodarbībām.

Pēc aģentūras novērojumiem vismaz pusē ārzemju latviešu skolās skolotāji nemaz nav pedagogi, līdz ar to ārkārtīgi būtiski esot sagatavošanas kursi un mācību materiāli. Tomēr viņa uzsver, ka ne visas skoliņas varēs ar to nodarboties un ļoti vērtīga ir kaut tikai tradīciju saglabāšana.

Kā norāda Austrālijas un ASV skoliņu pārstāves, tad valodas mācībā un apguvē gramatikas mācīšanai ir svarīga loma. Piemēram ASV, Ņujorkas Latviešu ev. lut. draudzes Ņudžersijas latviešu skolā latviešu valodas gramatikas stundas notiek no rītiem, kamēr galvas vēl svaigas. Valodu apgūstot arī tie latvieši, kuri ārpus Latvijas dzimuši trešajā paaudzē.

Sidnejas Latviešu skolas bijusī pārzine, skolotāja Māra Moora Latvijas Radio atklāj, ka Austrālijā valodu māca pat caur sportu un skoliņas uzturēšanā piedaloties teju visi.

“Visi kaut kur pieliek roku – vai nu virtuvē vai vada dejošanu. Tiešām visi piestrādā. Mums ir viena ārste, kas nāk un parāda ķermeņa daļas, un tad sataisa kaulus ar bērniem. Tiešām ļoti forši,” stāsta Moora un atklāj, ka mācību dienās, piemēram, par pusdienām gādā bērnu tēvi, kas gatavo garšīgus un latviskus ēdienus. Moora pati vadot projekta nodarbības, un šobrīd aktuāla esot Lāčplēša iepazīšana.

Berlīnē latviešu skoliņā aizvadītajā mācību gadā mācījās 60 bērnu. Maskavā šobrīd mācās 42 bērni. Ņūdžersijā latviešu skoliņā – 50 skolēnu, bet Sidnejas latviešu skoliņā mācās 20 skolēnu, vēl 5-6 bērni piedalās spēļu grupā.

Avots: Lsm. Visu rakstu lasiet šeit.

Latvian Language and more 2019

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Travel and study together with your family or friends, invest in your self-development, and spend a fabulous time with your beloved ones.

August 16 – August 25, 2019

The leading Nordic-Baltic language service company Baltic Media, in cooperation with the University of Liepaja, offers an intensive Latvian language and culture program in the mesmerizing city of Liepaja, located on Latvia’s beautiful Baltic Sea coast.

Liepaja is a fantastic place to learn Latvian as it has everything from a beautiful seaside to market stalls offering fresh local produce to the Great Amber Concert Hall, a new architectural landmark of the city: www.latvia.travel/en/city/liepaja-8

This intensive Latvian language and culture program provides:

  • solid instruction in learning the Latvian language (28 academic hours) at two levels – beginners (A1) and pre-intermediate (B1);
  • specially designed course materials;
  • cultural activities, including tours of the city and movie séances at an outdoor cinema featuring Latvian movies;
  • 3 day/2 night weekend trip to a B&B with amber hunting along the sea coast and yoga on the beach.

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Photo by Mike Erskine on Unsplash

Cost:

  • 595 EUR includes tuition, course materials, coffee and snacks, cultural activities, tours, and a 3 day/2 night stay at a B&B (meals and yoga instruction included).
  • 200 EUR for person for those who want to participate only in the cultural activities (without tuition costs).
  • 575 EUR early bird special price if you enroll by April 30.

For more information, please e-mail us at: kursi@balticmedia.com.

We encourage you to pack your travel bag, bring along your friends, and spend 10 amazing days discovering the beauty of the Latvian language as well as the unique culture and nature of Latvia’s beautiful sea coast. It will be your best summer ever.

Source: Baltic Media Valodu mācību centrs