• Lielezers

Latvians celebrate Meteni this weekend


In February, Latvians celebrate one of their traditional calendar festivals Meteni – a celebration dedicated to bidding farewell to the winter and welcoming the spring. Special folk songs are sung on this day, with people going out in merry song and dance to greet friends and neighbors.

Together with local folklore groups, Meteni is celebrated in many Latvian towns and villages. The festival is also celebrated each year at the Latvian Ethnographic Open-Air Museum near Riga, as well as the Turaida Castle Complex and Museum near Sigulda.

As in many other traditional Latvian celebrations, people dress in national costume during Meteni, however, masks are also worn during the festive procession.

One of the most important rituals during Meteni is taking a ride – either on a sled, a horse drawn carriage, or even skating on a pond. According to belief, people must take a ride on Meteni in order to ensure a good harvest.

Meteni usually falls in February, on the seventh Tuesday before Easter. However, in modern times, Meteni is usually celebrated on the weekend.

Meteni this year will be celebrated at the Latvian Ethnographic Open-Air Museum on February 17 from noon. As the celebration’s organizers inform - "During Meteni, we will go from house to house in a merry song and dance, take rides on sleds and horse drawn carriages, and even have dog sleds available".

Another Meteni celebration will take at the Turaida Castle Complex and Museum near Sigulda on Saturday, February 23.