LATVIA: Circeniša Ziemassvetki - Evija Sloka
Armed with a beautiful maternal voice, and sung much like a lullaby, Evija Sloka’s cover of Aspazija’s (Elza Plieknane) poem tells the rather sad story of a hungry boy living in poverty whose mother tries to placate him that they will go to the moon and have an incredible Christmas. Whilst it is an abnormally sombre Christmas song, it reflects the hardship of life in turn of the 20th century Latvia, the era in which it was composed. There is even a possible link to a prophecy of Latvia’s communist future that they endured after Aspazija’s death in which the mother promises the child ‘a sword at your side and a red flag in your hands’ (pie saniem bus tev zobentinš un roka sarkans karodzinš). Modern day Latvian Christmas is full of its own idiosyncrasies including the dragging of the yule log around the house, which is an ancient tradition in which families burn the log in honour of the sun.