Jāņi

Jāņi is a Latvian anniversary festival, which celebrates the summer solstice, the day when it has the shortest night and the longest day. Although the shortest night is usually on 21st or 22 June, the public holiday - Līgo Day and Jāņi Day is on 23rd and 24 June. The day before Jāņi was formerly known as Zāļu diena, which is now known as Līgo Day.

Things latvians do on Jāņi:

  • Get together with their friends and/or family for a big feast, usually out in the country side.
  • Obscene amounts of beer/kvass are bought days prior to the events. That obscene amount is usually consumed in one night.
  • Eat so. much. Jāņu. cheese. and šašliks. Jāņi without šašliks are a Jāņi spent terribly.
  • Make wreaths out of oak leaves (traditionally for men, but fuck gender) and a variety of grasses and flowers.
  • Dance and jump over (if unlucky, in) a bonfire.
  • Sing - or attempt to while being drunk - to Līgo songs - or sometimes karaoke versions of songs by Labvēlīgais Tips & Prāta Vētra.
  • Some might go “look for the fern blossoms”- which is just an excuse to have sex in the bushes if you’re into that kind of thing.

Jāņi (pronounced [jaːɲi]) is the time when the forces of the nature are more powerful and the boundary between physical and spiritual world is the thinnest. The ritual fires must shine their light as far as possible (therefore to be made on the top of some mountain, on a pole; by the sea made of old boats on the very shore), while (especially the young) people shouldn’t sleep the night to be good-looking and capable. Men wear an oak leaf wreath made by hands of a loving woman, while all women wear flower wreaths, where every herb and leaf have special meaning - health, strength, luck, love etc. Seeking for mythical Fern Flower, that blooms on this night only, usually leads to mini-baby boom in statistics of Latvian population 9 months later. Summer solstice is a celebration of love, passion, closeness to nature, when it’s is in full bloom and everything is possible.

Priecīgus Līgo Svētkus! Happy Summer Solstice to everyone in Latvia who celebrate today! I wish I was there (I am in my heart), dancing, singing, eating all the cheese, drinking all the beer & jumping over the fire and searching for a fern flower (which blossoms on the shortest night, you must search in couples ;)))). Yaaaay!!! Līgooo! 😍💕🍻🌴🌸

Here is Līga jumping over the fire and wearing the oak wreath doodle ;) #illustration #andsmilestudio #latvija #līgo #jāņi

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Priecīgus Jāņus visiem! Braši līgojiet, dziediet dziesmas, ēdiet Jāņu sieru un pīrādziņus, dzeriet alu, meklējiet papardes ziedu!

Tikai mašīnu gan lūdzu atstājiet mājās, lai nepapildinātu “melno” Jāņu statistiku.

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Priecīgus Līgo svētkus! Happy Līgo, Latvia’s midsummer festival! In honor of today’s festivities, I give you one of my favorite train safety PSA’s of all time, reminding you that trains are dangerous even on such a beautiful day as this.