|location of Latvia
Jāņi (summer solstice)
Jāņi is the most popular Latvian festivity. It is a day when cities vacate and every civil servant and bank clerk shows their pagan side. It originated as an ancient fertility festival celebrated after sowing the crops and before gathering harvest.
Ziemas saulgrieži (winter solstice)
"Ziemassvētki" or Christmas in Latvia is marked by an inextricable mix of ethnic, religious and modern traditions making it a truly unique experience. While most in the western world celebrate Christmas as the birth of Jesus Christ, according to pre-Christian Latvian pagan traditions it is the rebirth of the Sun Maiden.
Every Latvian is happy to celebrate the day of their name, as marked in the calendar. It rivals the scale of birthdays and is at least as popular. Each day in the Latvian calendar includes up to four names, and there is a date – May 22 – to celebrate the names not included in it.
“One may not attend the cemetery festival only if one is dead.”
/A woman in Latgale/ Peculiar at first sight, these community get-togethers show the respect of Latvians towards their ancestors. Most every cemetery gathers extended families on specific summer weekends, especially at the countryside