The Staro Riga festival is an exhibition of outdoor installations, that transform Riga’s panorama using modern light and video technology.
Since 2015, the source of inspiration for the themes of the Festival of Light have been the choir song Castle of Light written in 1899 by Jazeps Vitols and Auseklis. This song forms an integral part of the Latvian Nationwide Song and Dance Celebration programme, and is always performed during national celebrations. The writings of Auseklis reflect a legend of folklore where a castle that is sunk in a lake would only stand tall again when someone recalls its word. This legend has turned into a metaphor of Latvia’s history: in ancient times, its people were free, but then “came the days of bloody dawns” and “death rewarded the heroes’ bravery”, so the Castle of Light sank together with all the ancient gods. It will only resurface to daylight when its nation is free. The poem is concluded by: They called for light, it dawned, the sight! / And up once more rose the Castle of Light!
There has not been an edition since 2020.