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Holidays and Days of Remembrance
Latvialoves celebrations, and there are both official holidays and days of remembrance in Latvia, as well as beloved popular celebrations. Most holidays are declared public holidays. We will provide you with a guide to celebrations, holidays and days of remembrance in Latvia.
- Easter: At this time in Latvia, just as all over the world, Christians celebrate the resurrection of Christ, while those observing ancestral traditions also mark the spring equinox. Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday are official public holidays in Latvia.
May 1: The day of election of the Constitutional Assembly of the Republic of Latvia, on which the Satversme, or constitution, of Latvia was ratified. Labour Day is also celebrated in Latvia on May 1.
This is an official public holiday.
- May 4: Announcement of the Declaration of Independence of the Republic of Latvia; on this day in 1990, the parliament passed a resolution that was the starting point on the path of restoring the country’s independence. This is an official public holiday.
- Mother’s Day: Observed on the second Sunday of May, when mothers are honoured and celebrated.
- Pentecost: Celebrated by Christians on the fiftieth day after Easter. This usually falls between May 10 and June 13. This is the third most important Christian celebration after Christmas and Easter.
- June 23 and 24: The most expansive Latvian national holiday. June 23 is Līgo, when the summer solstice is celebrated (the shortest night of the year) by burning bonfires, singing, enjoying beer and cheese. The most intrepid ones jump over the bonfires, and the search for the mythical fern blossom is an important fertility ritual. June 24 is Jāņi, or St John’s day, the most popular name day in Latvia. The Jāņi period is an official public holiday.
- November 11: Lāčplēsis Day. This is a day of remembrance for the soldiers who fought for Latvian freedom. This holiday was introduced after 1919, when the young Latvian army stood its ground and prevented the German-Russian troops led by Bermondt from entering Riga.
- November 18: Day of Proclamation of the Republic of Latvia. In 1918, national representatives convened in what is now the National Theatre and proclaimed the independence of the Latvian state. This is an official public holiday.
- December 24: Christmas Eve; December 25 and 26: Christmas Day and Boxing Day (First and Second Christmas). Christians mark the birth of Jesus, while those who prefer ancestral rites observe the winter solstice at this time when dragging and burning a log is an important cleansing ritual for all the evil accrued throughout the year. Christmas is also an important family holiday that brings together the old and the young, when gifts are exchanged and poems recited in front of a decorated Christmas tree. Christmas-time is an official public holiday in the country.
- December 31: New Year’s Eve, when farewell is said to the old year and the new year is ushered in. The New Year is a widespread celebration, and December 31 and January 1 are public holidays in Latvia.
Latvia has a number of remembrance days when national flags at half mast and black ribbons commemorate those who perished in the struggle for Latvia.