Most of the most celebrated Latvian holidays are Christian (Christmas, Easter). Some however also have roots in ethnic culture (Līgo).
In independent Latvia numerous days were designated as national (patriotic) holidays, commemorating both happy and sad historical events. The popularity of celebrating such days varies but many of them are days off work.
A unique Baltic holiday is the UNESCO-inscribed Song Festival that takes place every 5 years and includes many Latvians coming to Riga to sing together.
These are public holidays in Latvia (when the offices close down):
New Year Day – January 1st
Great Friday – Date set by Catholic tradition
Easter Sunday – Date set by Catholic tradition
Easter Monday – Date set by Catholic tradition
Labour Day – May 1st
Independence Day – May 4th
Līgo – June 23rd
Jāņi – June 24th
Republic Day – November 18th
New Year Eve – December 31th
Prolonged periods of rest
As many of the public holidays come one after another, this gives Latvians multiple longer periods of rest (“long weekends”):
Easter period in Spring – 4 days (Friday to Monday)
Independence day period in May – 3 days (when it falls on Friday, Saturday, Sunday or Monday), at times may join with Labour day to provide 4 days of rest
Līgo period in June – 2 days (up to 4 if it falls next to a weekend)
Republic day period in November – 3 days (when it falls on Friday, Saturday, Sunday or Monday)
Christmas period in December – 3 days (up to 5 if it falls next to a weekend)
New Year period in December – 2 days (up to 4 if it falls next to a weekend)
When two holiday periods come one after another with just a couple of days in between, the work during these days may also be limited as many workers would take their paid leave then in order to have prolonged holidays.
2 thoughts on “Holidays and Festivals: Introduction”
I am shocked that there should be so many negative comments on the subject of Latvian Legionnaires’ Day commemorations, apparently from people who are drastically misinformed about the goals of the Latvian Legion and of its’ accomplishments in the struggle to keep Latvia free and independent. That sort of disinformation and propaganda against Latvia must stop.
The independence which was guaranteed to Latvia for all time through the bi-lateral Peace Treaty with the Soviet Union in 1920 was crassly violated by the main signatory of that treaty, thereby proving without a shadow of a doubt that The Soviet Union was an aggressor nation rather than the so-called “liberator” of Latvia that it pretends to be. The fact that the so-called “liberator” stayed as an oppressive military might in the country which it had purportedly “liberated” is vividly illustrated and proven by the five decades-long occupation of Latvia by the Soviet Union! What more can you want as proof of the Soviet Union’s repressive and genocidal nature?
A true liberator is one who comes and “frees or liberates”: and does not forcefully deport the indigenous population to Siberia and continue to militarily occupy that nation. The Soviet Union must openly acknowledge and make amends for its’ five-decades long military occupation of Latvia. This the Kremlin had not yet done but Europeans must continue to demand that the Soviet Union’s legal successor State, The Russian Federation, do so in no uncertain terms.
Shame on all those who continue to attach derogatory terms to the fallen Latvian heroes of the Latvain Legion. Long live free and independent Latvia!.
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