The Story behind Latvian Mittens
|Sample of Latvian mittens|
Latvia has a long tradition involving mittens. That's not surprising knowing that winters are so cold here. Everyone knitted mittens here in times past - granddads, grandmas, dad, mothers and children. What else did Dad have to do on long, dark winter evenings? Mittens are part of Latvia's culture.
Mittens are especially part of the wedding culture. Brides-to-be had to have 100 or more pairs of mittens knitted for her wedding hope chest. She handed out mittens to her father-in-law, mother-in-law, cousins, aunts, uncles, bridesmaids, cooks of the wedding supper, bakers and anyone else involved with planning the wedding.
Also included were the farm animals in the barn. Mittens were given to cows, sheep and horses. Of course, those mittens were gathered back up after the wedding celebration. I'm not sure if that tradition continues today.
|Mittens from District of Kurzeme|
Historically, the basic pattern of the mittens were taken from symbols of the deities and gods that the ancient Latvian people honored. Over the years these traditional patterns became connected with the different regions of Latvia. Today each region has its own traditions, styles, symbols and even colors.
I especially like the colorful mittens from the Kurzeme region as seen above. The bright colored yarn and bold patterns of the rosetta-type suns with small cuffs are unique to the region.
I'm sure knitters and people who have studied Latvian mittens know much more about this topic than I do, but I find it very interesting.
Information taken from A Short History of Latvian folk mittens