Latvian Ligo Festival : Midsummer’s Eve (Ligo Diena)
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Celebrated throughout Latvia, Ligo Diena is the annual celebration of the Summer Solstice which marks the longest day of the year and is celebrated on Midsummer’s Eve. It is an ancient practice which dates back to pre-Christian times and has many rituals that are closely associated with nature and the hope for a good harvest in the autumn. It is a time to be with friends, family and loved ones and is usually celebrated with a big meal during the day before heading out to one of the many public parties which involve traditional dances and more eating, drinking and singing. Bonfires are also lit which is a ritual that links back to the old tradition of cleansing and warding off evil spirits. The day is a national holiday in Latvia, as is Midsummer’s Day which is known as Jani (Yani).
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