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Winter Solstice ritual in Old Riga, Latvia
Riga

Yule Log Night, a traditional Latvian event celebrating the winter solstice and the re-birth of the Sun, took place in Old Town on the 21st December.

The ritual started at the Dome Square, the heart of Old Riga. Ķekatas – people dressed in beast costumes – get together singing songs that are aimed to send away evil spirits.

They drag the log across the town to collect all bad and evil that has accumulated here throughout the year. Later they return to the square and set the log afire, celebrating the new solar year with good spirits.


Roots of this tradition go back to pagan times, when winter and summer solstice were the most essential dates in the agricultural calendar of our ancestors.

Watch this panorama with sound here - http://www.virtuallatvia.lv/Tours/WinterSolstice/Tour.html

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Copyright: Vil Muhametshin
Type: Spherical
Resolution: 6000x3000
Uploaded: 25/12/2010
Updated: 25/06/2014
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Tags: ziemas saulgrieži; doma laukums; bluķa vakars; ugunskurs; latvija; winter solstice; pagan; bonfire; doma square
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Originated from a small fishermen village, for centuries Riga has been an important part of the trade chain between Russia and Western Europe. A lively crossroad of cultures and backgrounds for over 800 years, the historical centre of Riga has accumulated an impressive cultural baggage and today is justly included in the UNESCO’s World Heritage list.