Latvian Cultural Canon
Symbol of Latvian Identity
The central role of Dainas in Latvian life has long been viewed as one of the distinguishing features of Latvian culture. It describes the three essential elements of this uniquely Latvian phenomenon: tradition, literature and symbolism.
The Latvians call themselves a nation of singers and folk-song tradition is the main symbol used for the nation's self-identification. Dainas has a history of tradition for more than a century. It goes back to the New Latvians (Jaunlatvieši) who were ideological forerunners of the first national awakening. They used the folk songs as reference to demonstrate that Latvians had a common national distinguishing characteristic long before.