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!  

President of Estonia
Alar Karis