Dear guardians of heritage and its enthusiasts, and those who seek to learn from it,
The stronger the wind blows and storms shake the treetops, the more important the roots become. The more volatile and perplexing the times, the more we need to look to the past, to seek solace from our history. There we can find many answers to what we can become and who we are. When it seems that the new and the unknown are permeating our lives with great speed, phenomena like Baltica act as important balancers. It forces us to lean into this wind of time and look inside ourselves, so that the gusts do not carry us away.
From time to time culture is nourished from contact with other cultures. The best and closest to us is adapted to our ways and is moulded into our own tradition. This year’s heritage festival is one of those occasions that brings together such encounters. Because yes, there is only one Estonia, but within this Estonia there are many more small, distinctive places and communities with their own traditions. The same is true in Latvia, Lithuania and elsewhere. We are always bigger inside than we think.
I wish you all the best in discovering and finding yourselves (and your sources) at Folklore Festival Baltica 2023!
Dear participants and guests of the folklore festival!
Every nation has its own cultural identity, the indicator of its vitality is the original heritage, or folklore, that has withstood the trials of decades or even centuries. Folklore contains the roots of every nation, which has undergone various changes and developments along the timeline. Folklore is a value that must be preserved.
Baltica is a festival that makes its own small contribution to preserving and valuing local traditions and national cultural traditions on the world’s cultural landscape. This year’s folklore festival, which alternates between the Baltic countries, has come to Estonia again and carries an anniversary atmosphere for us. Baltica will be held for the 35th time.
For Estonia, the Folklore Festival Baltica is an opportunity to present to the world our own genuine folklore, our unique folk songs, dances, instrumental music, handicrafts and folk costumes in their authentic forms.
In addition to the national cultural meaning, the regional aspect of the festival is also important. The Folklore Festival Baltica brings together folklore enthusiasts from many regions of Estonia, including folklore groups of our ethnic minorities.
Let us value the heritage of our ancestors and appreciate cultural diversity.
From May 31 to June 4, Baltica, the largest international folklore festival in the Baltic States, every year from one Baltic country to another, takes place in Estonia. On June 1, heritage days will take place in Räpina and Vargamäe, and on June 2-4. until June, a traditional village will be set up on the Towers’ Square in Tallinn. This summer’s International Folklore Festival Baltica will be held for the 35th time.
All of Estonia in the palm of your hand
What makes the Baltica festival special is its content – a genuine local tradition. This year’s party will be attended by approximately 1,000 participants from all over Estonia, whose origins are revealed by the unique clothes, dances, musical instruments, songs, crafts, food, and language of their locality. In addition to those involved in folklore, the Kihnu Cultural Space, the Embassy of Old Võromaa, the Mulgi Culture Institute, and the Viru Institute represent their regions. In this way, anyone who is curious can confidently approach to acquire basic knowledge of the Võru, Kihnu, Mulg, or Lügnuse dialects. For the average visitor, the traditional village is divided into different regions of Estonia in order to navigate this colorful maze. In addition, in the space of minorities, Udmurts, Mordovians, Inger Finns, Belarusians, Jews, and many others who live in Estonia will perform the folklore of their country of origin.
From a memory game to Bulgarian mummers
The schedule of regional stages also accommodates other exciting gems. So you can test your heritage-related knowledge in a memory game led by Marju Kõivupuu and Tarmo Tiisler, pick up an instrument from home and play along in an instrument players jam session with other folk musicians, learn Seto dances, sing runic songs, dance the dances of the 19th-20th village party in the dance club, play song games, show off folk costumes or dance to party table songs from grandmothers’ well used songbook. The program also includes guests from across the border: folklore groups from Bulgaria, Latvia, Romania, Lithuania, and Finland.
The theme of this year’s Baltica is “Heritage attracts!” – let’s take part in everything boldly and let the heritage attract us because a genuine village party has no boundaries between participants and performers. Heritage is accessible and affordable to everyone. The folklore festival Baltica hopes that the native roots of many of the festival’s regular visitors will grow inside them and will urge them to discover their special local nature.
We are very happy to finally share the „Baltica-Web“ forum programme with you! And, as promised by the organizers, it is special: the days are dedicated to interesting lectures, comments, discussions on various Baltic cultural topics, and the evenings – to concerts, to custom presentations, to an art installation and even to everyone’s beloved traditional dance event “All Lithuania Dance”, which had grown into “All BALTICA dance”!
Some of the events will take place both live and online, therefore, the organizers are kindly asking everyone who want to come and enjoy live events to have vaccination certificate, recovery sertificate, negative Covid-19 test sertificate or EU digital health certificate.
This forum is also special in that not only its topics, but also the linguistic environment reflects the culture of our three neighboring countries: participants will speak their mother tongues, translators will translate them into the other two languages – Lithuanian, Latvian or Estonian.