Traditional Latvian folklore, especially the dance of the folk songs, date back well over a thousand years. Folk songs ( dainas ) are the most potent symbol of national identity. These songs construct a vision in which the natural, human, and supernatural worlds are intertwined. Oak and lime trees symbolize men and women. The apple tree is frequently associated with orphanhood, a state that symbolically represents the Latvian nation.
The rural character of the national identity was promoted by the role of landscape in art and literature. An association of Latvian artists founded in 1929 argued “for art with a Latvian content and form,” primarily in landscape painting. The result of this cultural policy was to include not only the recently emerged intellegentsia and middle classes but also those who lived in the countryside and worked the land.
During July 2014, Riga will host the 8th World Choir Games as it plays host to over 15 000 choristers representing over 300 choirs and over 60 countries. The festival is the biggest of its kind in the world and is held every two years in a different host city.