Latvia Christmas Traditions

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hough Latvia celebrates Christmas on December 25, this holiday is closely linked with pagan winter solstice celebrations. Latvians mark the 12 days up until Christmas with gifts. If you're in Riga during the month of December, you can purchase traditional decorations and sample Latvian Christmastime foods at the Riga Christmas Market.

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Latvian Christmas Tree

Latvia is closely associated with the Christmas tree, and some legends say it was in Riga that the first Christmas tree was decorated in front of the House of Blackheads on Town Hall Square in the beginning of the 16th century.

Whether or not this is true makes no difference, because the tradition of decorating Christmas trees is alive and well in Latvia. One is erected every year in that legendary spot on the medieval square.

Christmas trees in Latvia can be decorated in a variety of ways, but hanging Christmas ornaments made of natural materials like straw is one of the most traditional.

The 500th anniversary of the Latvian Christmas tree was celebrated in 2010.

Another tradition associated with Latvian Christmas is the dragging of the yule log. In days gone by, after being dragged around the house, the yule log was then burned.

Other Latvian Christmas Traditions

Other Latvian Christmas traditions include the Christmas feast and the singing of carols.

The mummer ritual in Latvia hearkens back to pagan times as singers dress up in masks and sing traditional songs.