Storytellers festivals in Latvia

You are welcome to attend storytellers festivals in many different locations all over Latvia!


The Kurzeme storytellers’ festival „Ziv zup” (Fish Soup)

Each year  since 2006 at the end of April in the western Latvian town of Kuldīga and its vicinity storytellers from many different places arrive, in order to celebrate the season of fish jumping over the Venta waterfall with stories heard both long and not so long ago. „Ziv zup” was the first storytellers’ festival in Latvia emphasising the richness of language and variety of dialects of a specific region – Kurzeme (Courland).

The title of the festival („Ziv zup”) places no restrictions on the topics of the stories to be told. Festival takes place during the spring high water show „Lido zivis Kuldīgā” (Fish Flying in Kuldīga), when vimbas jump over the Venta waterfall to reach their spawning locations. The winners of the fishermen’s contest donate their catch for the soup cauldron cooked by the storyteller ladies and sometimes also the fishermen take part in the storytelling. Many of the stories told by the Courlanders (“kurzemnieki”) are related to waters, fish, fishing and cooking. The best conversations and stories are found while managing the huge cauldron of soup. A particular attention is paid to storytelling in dialects that are particularly safeguarded in Kurzeme.

The Festival aims to bring up storytelling as a substantial part of heritage, focusing on the preservers of the stories, their unique stories and inheritance of this tradition from generation to generation especially in the Kurzeme region. Each year the festival is the meeting place of not only the local storytellers, but also those from other regions of Latvia, sometimes even representatives of other countries actively participating in storytelling and projects and initiatives related to it.

Latgale storytellers’ festival "Omotu stuosti" (Craft Stories)

Since long ago Latgale has been known for well developed skills of different arts and crafts, masters of which are still around in our day. If in the past crafts in Latgale ensured their relevance through the high demand in craftsmen, in our day the individuals still practicing the ancient crafts are motivated by a fundamentally different task – to be the ones that carry on the very knowledge of the craft, ensuring inheritance and preservation of these values into the popular culture, paying particular attention to the regional traditions, developing those further and transferring them to the next generations.

In 2016 the Latgale storytellers’ festival „Omotu stuosti” was organized for the first time. Its aim was stated as follows: to encourage preservation, development and transmission of the storytelling traditions as a substantial part of intangible cultural heritage in Latgale culture space, in order to promote craft skills through storytelling and encourage their inheritance by the next generations. It is planned to use the festival not only to bring more interested individuals to the storytelling movement and promote the storytelling traditions in Latgale, but also to create a recognisable and creative platform for exploration of Latgale crafts and their support.

Zemgale storytellers’ festival "Gāž podus Rundālē" (“Throwing pots” – doing funny things – in Rundāle)

The Zemgale storytellers’ festival „Gāž podus Rundālē!” arose within the framework of the Latvian National Commission for UNESCO (further - LNC) network „Storytelling Libraries”. The aim of the festival is to enhance understanding of the intangible cultural heritage and bring attention to storytelling as a substantial element of the intangible cultural heritage, celebrate the preservers of stories, strengthen the inter-generational ties and the unity of the local community, at the same time encouraging the preservation of the storytelling traditions and their transmission to the next generations.

The idea of the festival was created during the first Summer School of the LNC network „Storytelling Libraries”, as it was organised in 2011 in the Rundāle district as a joint effort with the Pilsrundāle library – one of the libraries from Zemgale participating in the network.

The first festival took place in 2012 in Pilsrundāle of the Rundāle district. It was organised in cooperation of the Rundāle district municipality and LNC, and with the support from European Union lifelong education programme Grundtvig, its subprogramme Learning Partnerships. This wide scale festival brought together not only the participants of the Summer School and the international partners, but also individual storytellers, local folklore groups, representatives of the local community and even visitors to Pilsrundāle.

Vidzeme storytellers’ festival „Stories in twilight”

The Vidzeme storytellers’ festival brings together storytellers from all over Latvia since 2015, but also local representatives of Valmiera, along with people interested in storytelling and supporting the storytelling movement. The Festival invites to take part in various events, where one can either just listen to stories or join in telling them, and also acquire some storytelling skills.

The aim of the festival is promote the preservation, development and transmission to the next generations of the storytelling traditions as a substantial part of intangible cultural heritage in Latvia, especially focussing on the region of Vidzeme. The various events of the festival explore, study, provide opportunities for transmission and popularisation of the Vidzeme intangible cultural heritage, also allowing to enjoy the performances of storytellers from other regions of Latvia and their traditions, providing a platform for oral folklore in different Latvian dialects.