It is the 11th of November 2011 and much of Europe will be remembering the end of the First World War on the Western front but here in Latvia they will be remembering the 11th November for another reason.

Lāčplēša Diena, as it is known here in Latvia, is a celebration of victory but it is named after a mythical Latvian boy, who grew up to become a super strong, Incredible Hulk/Hercules and was especially good at ripping bears apart with his own hands. He is said to have existed around the time of Christians arriving in the Baltic’s and was assisted by the Baltic gods to become the great super hero that he is today. There is even a beer named after him but its not very good!

Unlike many parts of Europe, peace did not arrive in Latvian in 1918, a bitter struggle for power over the region took hold and was led by many different factions. The Latvian Nationalists fought a bitter battle in the heart of Riga against the Bermontians, a West Russian volunteer army based in the Baltics during the Russian civil war of 1918 – 1920.

The Latvian Nationalists, despite the odds, defended and defeated the Bermontians and since then, 1919, 11th November, Lāčplēša Diena, has always been a strong part of the Latvian struggle and a defining point modern national identity of today.

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