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Don't miss Jāņi celebration and waiting for a sunrise

17.02.2017

The nearer the summer solstice, the more excitement arises in the heart. The daylight will shortly reach its maximum length and... will begin its way back to winter darkness.

This is an important moment, and it matters greatly where you are, with whom, and what you are doing. For Latvians, summer solstice and Jāņi are a special celebration to be prepared for well in advance.

People in the rural areas brew the beer, make Jāņi cheese, bake the pies, and review the lyrics of the Jāņi songs because these have been sung last a year ago. While preparing for the celebration, rooms and yard are cleaned, wild flowers are gathered and used to decorate the surroundings.

The firewood for the bonfire should not be forgotten because it would have to burn brightly all night long until the very sunrise.

Does it really take place in the 2nd millennium as well? It does, and visitors from near and far are welcome to participate in this wonderful festival.

On June 17, this year's summer solstice, Latvian Ethnographic Open-Air Museum in Pierīga will host the Latvian Sauna and Honey Festival: mystery of the wild flowers' day, the sauna ritual, the magic of fire. A sunrise swim in the dew. Let us celebrate the solstice by merry singing and dancing.

On June 21, the summer solstice, in the fisherman's farm "Vītolnieki" located in Papes Ķoņu village of Rucava municipality will be relived the ancient traditions of Jāņi eve: making of wreaths, the ritual of seeing off the sun on the beach, the fire ritual and dances. Waiting for the sunrise with songs, a torch walk, and a meal at a long table. The festivities will be hosted by the Latvian Ethnographic Open-Air Museum along with Rucava Traditional Culture Centre.

During the solstice, Jāņi songs will be sung and ancient rituals will be performed in many places across Latvia. The closer to nature, the more you will be overcome by the feelings of festivity. But those who will not go to the countryside should not be sad, because they can spend the shortest night of the year in our beautiful Riga.