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LATVIA

Location:
Riga

1 Dec - 14 Jan 2015 (prov)

Christmas Market in the Old Town

Christmas is approaching, and one of the signs testifying to this is the Old Town Christmas Fair with sweet-smelling mulled wine, roasted almonds, glittering glazed gingerbread and local handcraft. Visitors will have a chance to find their Christmas miracle here every day. Various concerts and workshops are on the programme, with Santa Claus entertaining kids and adults alike.

This year, the annual Old Town Christmas Fair celebrates its 11th anniversary. All those loving delicious food will be delighted at the traditional treats - mulled wine, gingerbread, roasted almonds, Christmas tea and coffee, as well as delicious smoked meats and meat products. The fair will also offer a wide range of Latvian handcraft for Christmas gifts - patterned mittens, skillfully turned wooden candlesticks, jarred sunny-smelling Latvian honey, sweet-smelling wax candles, handmade warm socks, hats and scarfs, amber and silver jewellery, ecological wooden toys and rag bears...

Along with food and handcraft, you will have an opportunity to learn more about various Latvian traditions, for example, log dragging and traditional Christmas cooking. Latvian Christmas songs and world-known melodies will be performed by pop music bands and traditional ensembles. Creative workshops will be open to let you learn more about some stitchcraft, and a special Christmas post office will be accessible to send postcards.

Rabbits and a pony will wait for children here; and, of course, Santa Claus will entertain you to make the Christmas celebration memorable.

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A Latvia Christmas, the Town Hall Square, Liepins
How to say "Merry Christmas" in Latvian: Prieci'gus Ziemsve'tkus un Laimi'gu Jauno Gadu!

Did you know?

In 1510 the world's first decorated Christmas tree was made in Riga

If some historians are correct, then Riga is the birthplace of the world's first decorated Christmas tree. In 1510, a group of Riga merchants first decorated a fir tree with flowers in honour of the birth of Christ. These traditions gradually evolved and spread throughout the Christian world, so whenever you see a Christmas tree, remember that Riga is where it all started.

2010 marked the 500th anniversary of the first Christmas Tree!!

Lido skating rink Riga

Blackheads House in Riga Latvia
Did You know...?
The ancient trading route from Riga to Istanbul was known as 'The Amber Route' and was used by the Greeks, Arabs and also Vikings.

Local dishes: Latvians consume a lot of dairy products, eggs, potatoes, fish and grains; although you will also find plenty of meat in restaurants. Fish may include Siļķe (herring) līdaka (pike), zutis (eel), forele (trout), or lasis (salmon). If fish is cepts, it's fried, if sālīts or mazsālīts, it's salted; and kūpīnats means it'll be smoked. Soups and sausage are also popular. Zāvēta desa is smoked sausage. In summer and autumn, good use is made of berries, freshly picked from the forest. Fruit pies and tarts (Kūka) are abundant at this time of year. You will also find a huge array of freshly baked cakes, breads and pastries. Latvia's leading beer is Aldaris.
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