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The Republic of Latvia boasts of a unique culture and literature. The people of this beautiful Baltic State are strongly rooted to their soils even as they also side-by-side seem to be much influenced by the neighboring Baltic states of Europe—especially Lithuania.
Latvian folklore and the natives play the most decisive role in shaping and defining the distinct culture of the country. The Latvians boast of an impressive heritage of long-established folklore--more so folk songs. To their credit, they have more than 1.2 million texts besides 30,000 melodies of folk songs, with a history of more than 1000 years.
Earlier, the Latvians were atheists. However, post the arrival of the Christianity religion on the Latvian shores, almost the entire populace of the nation has become firm believers of Christianity. Interestingly, the many Christian customs and rituals currently followed in the country are closely related with some of the widely practiced, centuries-old customs of the nation.
The culture of the country also seems to be much influenced by the Latvian ancestors who were chiefly fighters and sang ballads during wars and battles. These songs are still a part of the unique Latvian culture even as these mythical songs have an exclusive history to tell.
The nation has also produced some renowned painters with Janis Rozenntals being the most famous one. The language of the country, the Latvian, is one of the two surviving Indo-European languages in this part of the world. Nearly 50% of the total populace of this North European country speaks it as its primary language—the reason being there exist a plethora of dialects across the western and the eastern regions of the nation.
Significantly, all the seven big cities of the country have more Russians vis-à-vis the Latvians. The people are usually good travelers with close to a quarter of a million of them having moved overseas--mainly to the top world destinations of Canada, the US, Germany, Australia, and England. The dietary habit of the Latvians is not much different from the one found across its neighboring nations. While dairy products, eggs, potatoes, and grains are consumed with much enthusiasm, smoked foods are also much favored across the country.
Literature plays a key role in shaping the culture of the country. Unwritten Latvian literature--the basis of which is superstitious facts and stories is a unique facet of the Latvian literature which is rather rich. During 1888, the epical poem, called Lacplesis--which means the Bear Slayer, and which seems to be inspired by traditional folk stories--attracted wide-scale popularity even as it marked the herald of the literature of the country. Janis Rainis is the most important personality in the Latvian literature even while the written verses of the country, by and large, are brief and lyrical.