Category: Latvian public holiday

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Jani -Latvian public holiday is celebrated each year on 23 June.

Jani Known as Jāņi , this Latvian public holiday is celebrated each year on 23 June. The actual date of Midsummer day may vary between the 20-21 June. The following day, St John’s Day is also a public holiday. Depending on what day of the week, these holidays fall on, then additional bridge holidays may also be declared. Jāņi usually are celebrated at the country side. People who live in the cities drive to countryside to celebrate at open air. Mostly Jāņi is celebrated at evening and then all night till dawn. It’s because June 23-24 is the Summer Solstice when once a year longest day and shortest night comes. Most people spend night with family and friends at their country homes, but many go to open air concerts that happen all around the country. Jāņi is the time when the forces of the nature is more powerful and the boundary between physical and spiritual world is most thinnest. This is the time when old Pagan rituals must be used. Houses are decorated with rowan branches and thorns.  Livestock is decorated also. Men wear an oak leaf wreath and women wear a flower wreath. Since ancient times, this midsummer day has been observed and celebrated by many cultures. In the agricultural calendar, it was a time to celebrate the sowing of the crops and enjoy the short break before harvest began. In Northern Europe, its effects are more pronounced with very long days, which of course is contrasted six months later when the winter solstice (Ziemassvētki) results in very long nights in that part of the world.In astronomical terms, the longest day of the year takes places on either 20 June or 21 June. With the Christianisation of Latvia, Jāņi was moved to the day before St. John’s Day.The day before Jāņi is called ‘Herbal day’ (Zāļu diena), when people will gather up the flowers and plants that will be used to make bouquets and wreaths to be worn on Jāņi. Women wear wreaths made from flowers, while men wear ones made with twigs or leaves. It is a holiday to celebrate with dancing, singing , eating and drinking being the order of the day.One custom is to jump over bonfires, which is an ancient tradition associated with other festivals around the world, such as Parsi, the Persian New Year.