Midsummer Festival

9:45 PM

In Latvia, June 23 -24 are national holidays where the people of the country celebrate the longest days of the year. Because we're so far north, the sun doesn't set until until 10:30 and rises again at 4:30. The hours between are twilight - never getting totally dark. The Latvians use these long days to celebrate.

Example of head wreath
Traditionally, Latvian citizens gather together with family and friends and sing Latvian folk songs around bonfires that go all night. The women weave flowers and boughs into a crown that they wear for the occasion. They also wear long flowing dresses with sashes.
Example of dress 

Of course, this is usually done out in the woods or in parks. We didn't witness any of these parties because all the city festivities were cancelled due to the epidemic. The celebrations last all night during the twilight hours between 11:30 and 3:30. They wait for the sun to rise again before the party breaks up and everyone gets some sleep.

Old Riga was very quiet those days because everyone was out of town, and the tourists were very scarce. Dom Square, which is usually crowded with tourists, was almost empty. There wasn't much celebration going on in town.
Dom Square at 10:00 PM

So we found our own entertainment. We toured the city from the water. On Tuesday evening, we went on an hour-long cruise of the Daugava River on a larger cruise boat. It was interesting to see Riga from a different perspective.
River Cruise

Canal boat
Then on Wednesday afternoon, we rode a smaller canal boat around the city canals to see how the ancient mote circled the city. Floating through the parks along the canal was very relaxing and beautiful.

We didn't celebrate this Midsummer Festival in the traditional sense, but we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves anyway.
View of a stone bridge from canal boat


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