Latvia: Holidays, Events, and National Customs
There are a number of public holidays that do not have a fixed date, but are based on the location of Easter. Easter takes place on the first Sunday that follows the first full moon after the beginning of spring. Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, which ends on Holy Saturday, is 46 days before Holy Saturday. The date for Pentecost is then 50 days after Easter. The Corpus Christi festival is celebrated on the 2nd Thursday after Pentecost. All Saints’ Day is celebrated for Orthodox Christians on the 1st Sunday after Pentecost, but for Catholic Christians the date is fixed on November 1st. On October 31, Protestants celebrate Reformation Day. The Halloween festival also takes place on this day.
|January 1||New Year|
|1st of May||Labor Day|
|June 23rd and 24||St. John’s days (midsummer)|
|November 18||National holiday|
|December 25th and 26||Christmas|
|December 31||New Year’s Eve|
Source: Countryaah – Latvia Holidays
The international folk dance festival “Sudmalinas” has been celebrated every three years all over Latvia since 1992.
In 2005 the second Latvian Male Choir Festival took place. Around 850 participants show what they can do in front of an international jury and present the old Latvian tradition of singing.
A choir festival is held annually in Mazsalaca, with male and female choirs participating.
The Meteni Agricultural Festival is celebrated in Latvia in February.
The most important and traditional festival in Latvia is St. John’s Eve from June 23rd to June 24th, when the turn of midsummer is celebrated. You wear wreaths of flowers in your hair and spend the night by large fires.
In August, Liela Mara is celebrated, an agricultural festival.
The Apjumibas Festival marks the beginning of the harvest season and is celebrated nationwide.
Ice hockey and basketball are popular sports in Latvia.
To fish you must have a fishing license, which can be purchased for a small sum. Anyone who wants to hunt in Latvia must purchase a license for each game.
Latvia is particularly known for its folk music culture of the Dainas. These are traditional Latvian folk songs in short poetry that are rarely longer than four lines.
The Bear Killer Order is named after the Latvian national epic Lacplesis (Bear Killer) by the poet Andrejs Pumpurs (1841-1902) and was the first military order of merit in independent Latvia.
The best time to travel to Latvia
The ideas of what is meant by a particularly favorable travel climate depend on a number of factors. For example, people who are purely cultural or city travelers see the climate very differently than people who, for example, want to spend a pure beach holiday. The state of health or age can also play an important role. Therefore, our travel time recommendations are divided into the following two categories:
The following table shows a range of climate data for the country. It should be noted, however, that the climatic conditions in different regions of the country can differ considerably from one another and thus also from the values shown. In addition, such monthly temperature averages say little about the possible current minimum or maximum temperatures. It is not uncommon for average temperatures of around 20 °C to have maximum values of 30 °C or even more on a number of days. The table therefore only provides a general overview of the climatic conditions in the country.
|Month||Average number of rainy days||Mean maximum temperatures in (°C)||Mean minimum temperatures in (°C)|
Sights of Latvia
- Abbreviationfinder.org: Presents the way that LV stands for the nation of Latvia as a two-letter acronym.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites
The Struve Arch is a cross-border scientific monument with a length of 2,821 km and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2005. This geodetic survey sheet covers ten countries. It starts in Hammerfest in Norway and then continues through Sweden, Finland, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Moldova and ends in Ukraine. There is a chain of geodetic measuring stations on the Struve Arch. It was used to measure parts of the earth’s surface and had its origin in the Tartu observatory in Estonia, of which Struve was director from 1820-1839. For more information, see Struve Arch. The Struve Arch was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2005.
Historic city center of Riga
The Latvian capital Riga lies on the Daugava and is the largest city in the entire Baltic region. For a long time, Riga was an important member of the Hanseatic League and the center of the Teutonic Order in the Baltic States. The city of Riga is mentioned for the first time in 1198 when it received city rights. It was probably settled around 200 years earlier. Riga was a typical Hanseatic city, as it is by the sea, the city was interesting for merchants in the Middle Ages, because they could easily do business with the Baltic States from here. But it was not only a trading town; artists such as B. Liszt, Wagner and Schumann settled down, and science was also practiced. The old town can be recognized from afar by its old towers. In the city you can find buildings from the Hanseatic League, Art Nouveau villas and concrete blocks from the socialist era.
The Johannes Church is built in the Renaissance style. The tower of the Petrus Church, built in the 13th century, was made of wood. The buildings of the “Three Brothers” were built in the 15th century in the Gothic and Baroque styles. These houses were living and working at the same time, holes were built in their ceilings so that goods could be left from top to bottom and in reverse order.
The cityscape of Riga is characterized by buildings with Latvian, German, Russian and Polish influences. In 1997 UNESCO declared the historical center of the city a World Heritage Site.
You can find out more about Riga here >>> at goruma.
In the following, the ten most populous cities in the country are listed with the number of residents rounded up or down.
|German name||Latvian name||Population|
On the small island of Pilssala in the Lielupe River is the Jelgava Castle, which is now the seat of the Agricultural University. The three older wings of the building date from the 18th century, and a fourth was added in 1937. In the 19th century the castle was the seat of Louis XVIII, the later ruler of France.
House of the Blackheads
The House of the Blackheads on the Town Hall Square in Riga dates from 1334. It was used by the Hanseatic League as well as the citizens for meetings.
The Freedom Monument in the center of Riga is the symbol of Latvia’s national sovereignty. It was built between 1931 and 1935.
TV Tower in Riga
The TV tower in Riga has a height of 368 m and was built in 1987.
Rundale Palace (Rundāle) is considered one of the most beautiful palaces in the Baltic States. It was built in the Baroque and Rococo styles. Versailles Palace in France served as a model for the palace. In the three-wing, two-storey building Schloss, there are 138 rooms and halls on an area of approx. 7,000 m². The palace park is also laid out in the French Baroque style.
The plant has been state-owned since the Latvian land reform of 1920 and is located in the Zemgale region – near the town of Bauska.
The castle was built between 1735 and 1740 at the instigation of Tsarina Anna Ivanovna (). It was originally intended as a summer residence for the Courland Duke Ernst Johann Biron (), who could only use it until 1743, as he was exiled after the death of the Tsarina. The plans for the palace came from the Russian-Italian architect and builder Bartolomeo Francesco Rastrelli (), from whom the plans for the Winter Palace of the Hermitage in St. Petersburg came.
Nowadays the castle is mainly used as a museum with a research department for the older art history of Latvia. The visitor will find paintings, furniture, porcelain and silver statues of the dukes of Courland as well as artifacts from four centuries of art from Europe. The Golden and White Halls with their extensively restored and very valuable silk wallpapers are particularly worth seeing.
This museum shows exhibits on the tragic Latvian history of the 20th century, especially under the two occupiers Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia.
The Jewish Museum documents Jewish life in the pre-war period of Latvia
Car lovers get their money’s worth here and can see old cars from Latvia and the USSR. European and American cars can also be seen.
Foreign Art Museum
As one of the most important art museums in Latvia, it houses the largest collection of Western European art. The art objects date from the 16th century to the present day. The most significant is certainly the collection of paintings currently comprising around 1,000 pictures.
Museum of National Art
This museum is a delight from the outside. It was designed in the imposing Baroque style, includes a majestic hall and an imposing staircase leading from there.
Churches, other sacred institutions
About 50 km from Daugavpils is the Aglona Basilica, which was built at the end of the 18th century. Since then the hill has been the spiritual center of the Catholics in Latvia.
Trinity Church in Liepaja
The organ of the Trinity Church in Liepaja was the largest in the world until 1912.
Cathedral The Riga Cathedral was built in the 13th century. The beautiful square around the building was not built until 1900.
Petrikirche in Riga
From the 123 m high tower of Petrikirche in Riga from 1746, you have a wonderful view over the old town.
Riga Technical University (RTU)
There are currently around 17,000 students studying at RTU. It has eight faculties. These are:
- Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning
- Faculty of Construction and Civil Engineering
- Faculty of Computer Science and Technology
- Faculty of Electronics and Telecommunications
- Faculty of Engineering Economics
- Faculty of Materials Science and Applied Chemistry
- Faculty of Electrical Engineering
- Faculty of Transportation and Mechanics
University of Latvia (Latvijas Universitate)
About 30,000 students are currently studying in the 13 faculties of this university. The faculties are assigned to the following subjects:
- Geography and geology
- History and philosophy
- Social sciences
- Modern languages
- Pedagogy and Psychology
- Physics and math
- law Sciences
There are currently four nature reserves in Latvia, two national parks with reserves and protection zones, a biosphere reserve, 211 nature conservation territories, 21 nature parks and 6 landscape protection areas. for example:
Landscape Park Tervete
Not far from Dobele is the Landscape Park Tervete. The park is divided into different areas in which wooden sculptures based on novels and ancient myths are set up.
Gauja National Park
The Gauja National Park is the largest and oldest national park in Latvia with an area of around 918 km². It is located northeast of Sigulda to southwest of Cēsis. It got its name after the river Gauja.
Around 150 species of birds and 50 species of mammals live in the park. Around 50% of the park is covered by forest
The three largest ports in Latvia are Ventspils, Riga and Liepaja.
Ventspils is the largest port in the Baltic Sea region and one of the 15 European ports with the largest cargo handling.
Riga Bay, Baltic Sea
Gulf of Riga
The Gulf of Riga and the Gulf of Riga is a large bulge in the Baltic Sea in the west of Estonia and in Eastern Latvia. Their area is around 16,200 km². To the Baltic Sea it is bordered by Estonia’s largest island Saaremaa (Ösel). Between the mainland and the island of Ösel, the Irbenstraße connects the bay with the Baltic Sea in a westerly direction.
The Baltic Sea was only formed a little more than 10,000 years ago when, at the end of the Ice Age, the ice, which was sometimes kilometers thick, began to melt and could not flow away quickly enough. In addition, the land freed from the ice masses rose.
The Baltic Sea is considered a shallow tributary to the Atlantic Ocean, scientifically it is an epicontinental sea. It covers an area of 415,000 km² including the Kattegat. The deepest point at 459 m is at Landsorttief between the Swedish peninsula Södertörn and the island of Gotland, at 58 ° 25 ‘north latitude and 18 ° 19’ east longitude. The northwestern part of the Baltic Sea, the Kattegat, merges with Skagen in the Skagerrak, which is counted as part of the North Sea. This strait in northern Jutland represents the only natural connection to the North Sea and thus to the Atlantic via the Great Belt (between Funen and Zealand) and the Little Belt (between Jutland and Funen) and the Öresund (between Zealand/Denmark and Sweden).
The Limfjord, which runs across Jutland and connects the North Sea in the west of Jutland near Thy and Thyborøn with the Kattegat in the east near Hals, is particularly popular with water sports enthusiasts. The northernmost limit of the Baltic Sea is in the Gulf of Bothnia on the border between Sweden and Finland, its southernmost border is at the southern end of the Szczecin Lagoon, its eastern border at St. Petersburg/Russia and the western border is at Flensburg in the Flensburg Fjord.
The shallow Bodden waters “behind” Rügen, Hiddensee, Darß, Zingst and Fischland form special landscapes. In Poland and on the Curonian Spit there are huge shifting dunes. And in front of Sweden and Finland there is a huge number of islands, islets or rocks. The waters around the Danish islands are a true paradise for water sports enthusiasts. The waters of the Gulf of Riga in the west and north of the Gulf of Finland are also very attractive. In total there are around 1,520 islands and islets in the sea off Estonia. The two largest are Saaremaa and Hiumaa.
The salinity of the East Sea is up to 3.2% in the Skagerrak area and only 0.2% in the northernmost part of the Gulf of Bothnia. The Baltic Sea has a water volume of around 22,000 km³, with around 500 km³ of fresh water being supplied to it annually by around 250 rivers. It is limited by the following countries: Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia and Sweden.
There are a number of well-known islands in the Baltic Sea, many of which also play a major role in tourism. The larger islands of Latvia – in order of size – are:
|Name of the island||Area in km²|
|Suur-Pakri (western island)||11.6|