What can you tell about celebrating Līgo [Midsummer night festivities]?

Categories: Dagnija Bramane

I think that there is a difference between how midsummer celebration happens today and what it was in the past, in more olden days. But the main features are preserved, such as brewing. It is when the dad makes beer at home and the whole process, when everybody helps, participates, brings in water. And, of course, also making cheese. Both my mom and my grandmother make cheese and I myself do that, too; then all of us have various types of cheese – both hard, dried cheese and cooked, milk cheese. And different interesting flavourings can be tried. Nowadays, all sorts of cheese are popular – with nuts, apricots, curry that can be bought in shops, with various interesting flavourings that were not available in former days.

Of course, traditionally here is a fire, in which the last year’s wreaths are burned. And a new tradition that has appeared is grilling shashlik. We all already laugh that shashlik is Latvians’ traditional Līgo dish, which was not popular in the past, but nowadays shashlik is made almost everywhere.

Then there are companies who try to celebrate Summer solstice as in olden times, and they kindle those fires, make that Sun gate, sing those songs. They observe the tradition that in the morning one has to run naked in the field for that field and everything to grow better. And it is such a merry tradition; and friends who observe it and later tell each other how everybody was running, girls first and boys after. There are various merry deeds of this kind. In the past, those fires were kindled at the top of the hill, on a pole. Nowadays they are usually kindled in meadows. Today, people are trying to return to the old traditions, to invite some musician who can play music, instead of just turning on the tape-recorder. You see, people are trying to get back to the old traditions.




Researcher: Dr. philol. Valentīns Lukaševičs, Daugavpils Universitāte

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Yanka Kupala State University of Grodno
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