Latvian Christmas Traditions

@RasmaSandra (13379)
Riga, Latvia
December 22, 2015 3:08am CST
Every year is was the same as Christmas approached the Latvians began to clean and decorate their houses. Unlike the tradition in the U.S. the outside of the house is never decorated but an outside evergreen might have some decorations place upon it. After the Christmas tree, which was always chopped down in the woods by the head of the family, was brought into the house it represented that the winter solstice had entered the house. The tree was decorated with colorful threads, hay, bird feathers, eggs, fruit such as oranges, and dried flowers. In the old days they also made special ornaments out of straw to hang up. There was nothing store bought. The ornaments they made out of straw represented the sun and most often these kinds of ornaments were made by the children. In Latvian they are known as Puzuri or Straw Mobiles to hang up. The Christmas celebrations of the ancient Latvians lasted for three days from the 24th of December through the 26 of December. We still have 1st Christmas on the 25th and 2nd Christmas on the 26th. During the old-time celebrations Christmas Eve was cake night and a special cake was created with grains. Grain food was a symbol of life and showing respect to your elders. The Christmas table was always laden with food and drink. The traditional foods being peas, beans, a whole head of pork, blood wurst sausages, roast chicken, stewed sauerkraut, roasted potatoes, and specially baked cookies. This was all downed with drinks made of milk and buttermilk. On the table you had to also have bread, salt, and fire so it meant specially made candles. The tradition was that you couldn’t take anything off of the table all Christmas night so that the following year would be an especially wealthy one for you. Since a big meal is made on Christmas Eve after which presents are opened we have made it a tradition to sit down to our meal at around 10 PM so then at midnight we officially celebrate Christmas Day. What are your Christmas traditions?
7 people like this
6 responses
@PainsOnSlate (19212)
• Canada
22 Dec 15
That's very interesting I have Serbian friends who celebrate in January. They always invite us to join them. The food is fabulous and there is music and laughter. I grew up in the states and moved to Canada and both countrie celebrate the same. We have a tree, we decorate, Our children come home for a few days with the grand-dogs, We exchange gifts, listen to Christmas music, have a simple meal on Christmas Eve and a Feast on Christmas day. Merry Christmas to you and yours...
2 people like this
@marlina (62086)
• Canada
22 Dec 15
That's about how we celebrate too.
1 person likes this
@RasmaSandra (13379)
• Riga, Latvia
22 Dec 15
@PaintsOnSlate Merry Christmas to you and yours as well. The Russians living here in Latvia who are Russian Orthodox celebrate their Christmas in January as well.
1 person likes this
• Lakewood, Colorado
22 Dec 15
Really there is not a great tradition here in our house except for the Xmas tree and exchanging of gifts and also of course the lovely Xmas dinner if finances allow for all this. Family is not connected for us so it is usually quiet and that is fine for us. We are always grateful to have a roof over our head and a bed to sleep in. Tradition would be simple for us..we are of Irish and Sicilian descent so that is how we observe tho we are living in the US of A. Thank you for sharing your lovely charming traditions Sandra.
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@jaboUK (50626)
• United Kingdom
22 Dec 15
Very interesting - we don't do anything special on Christmas Eve. On Christmas day we have our big feast at about 2pm, with present opening when it's finished.
@RasmaSandra (13379)
• Riga, Latvia
22 Dec 15
@JaboUK I like the idea of opening presents in the afternoon instead of early in the morning when you can be sleepy and not even understand what presents you're opening
1 person likes this
@jaboUK (50626)
• United Kingdom
22 Dec 15
@RasmaSandra Exactly - we are nice and relaxed and are able to enjoy the presents properly at that time.
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@MALUSE (32759)
• Denmark
22 Dec 15
I've written elaborately on German Christmas traditions. Unfortunately, the text is still on another site so that I can't use it here.
@RasmaSandra (13379)
• Riga, Latvia
22 Dec 15
@MALUSE it would be interesting to know about your traditions. Perhaps you can give us a brief idea about it.
@boiboing (12525)
• Northampton, England
22 Dec 15
I had wondered if your homeland did western or eastern orthodox dates for Christmas - so now I know!
@RasmaSandra (13379)
• Riga, Latvia
22 Dec 15
@boiboing we're a mixed lot here in Latvia. Now you know the Latvian Christmas traditions and most Latvians are Lutheran. The Russians living here who are Russian Orthodox celebrate their Christmas in January.
@JudyEv (100753)
• Bunbury, Australia
23 Dec 15
It is always interesting to hear how other cultures celebrate these special days. Although we're all celebrating Christmas the ways of doing it differ widely.