Christmas in the Baltic capitals: Riga Old Town Christmas fair celebrates its 10th anniversary


Christmas is approaching, and one of the signs testifying to this is the Riga Old Town Christmas Fair with sweet-smelling mulled wine, roasted almonds, glittering glazed gingerbread and local handcraft

Riga Christmas Market by Xerethra

Riga Christmas Market. Photo by Xerethra

This year, the annual Riga Old Town Christmas Fair celebrates its 10th anniversary (Dome Square 10:00 – 20:00 29.11.2015 – 08.01.2016). 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.


[divider]Riga Christmas market 2014[/divider]

Dome square, Riga, Latvia, December 2014

The Best Christmas Gifts for the Baltics Funs

Christmas in Latvia

Children in Latvia believe that Santa Claus (also known as Ziemassvētku vecītis – Christmas old man) brings their presents. The present are usually put under the Christmas tree. The presents are opened on during the Evening of Christmas Eve or on Christmas Day.

Often the presents are secretly put under the tree when people are not around (such as when people are at Church). Sometimes to get a present you have to recite a short poem while standing next to the Christmas Tree! Before Christmas children learn to say poems by heart. You might also get a present by singing, playing a musical instrument or doing a dance.

Latvia also claims to be the home of the first Christmas Tree! The first documented use of a evergreen tree at Christmas and New Year celebrations is in town square of Riga, the capital of Latvia, in the year 1510. Lots of people think the Christmas Tree first came from Germany, but the first recorded one is in Latvia. You can find out more about the Riga Tree from this great website:

In Latvian Happy/Merry Christmas is ‘Priecïgus Ziemassvºtkus‘.

The special Latvian Christmas Day meal is cooked brown/grey peas with bacon (pork) sauce, small pies, cabbage & sausage, bacon rolls and gingerbread.


Views Around the City of Riga, Latvia, (at night) January 2014 “Christmas Lights Aplenty”


This film features detailed night-time footage in and around the city centre of Riga, the capital city of Latvia, which is a Baltic Sea state located in Eastern Europe. The footage is all shot during night-time to capture the city’s lights and particularly it’s Christmas lights, which remain up until the end of January. Riga is recognised as the home of the Christmas tree, with the first record of a decorated Christmas tree going back to 1510. This video was filmed over three different nights on walks around the City Centre and at visitor attractions in and around the city centre.

Riga is the largest city of the Baltic states and home to more than one third of Latvia’s population. The city is an important seaport and a major industrial, commercial, cultural and financial centre of the Baltic Sea region. The city lies on the Gulf of Riga, at the mouth of the Daugava River.

The following locations and features are identified in the video in either Latvian or English: Krišjāna Valdemāra iela, Latvian National Theatre, Kronvalda Parks, Pilsētas kanāls, Kalpaka bulvāris, Latvijas Mākslas akadēmija, Rainis Statue, Esplanāde, Nativity of Christ Cathedral, The Rabbit Kingdom, Freedom Monument, Bastejkalns, Brīvības bulvāris, Views over Riga from the Skyline Bar on the 26th floor of Radisson Blu on Brīvības bulvāris, Alexander Nevsky Russian Orthodox Church, St. Gertrude Protestant Lutheran Church, Baznīcas iela, Bruninieku iela, Krišjāna Valdmāra iela, Latvijas Krajbanka Building, Powder Tower, Smilšu iela, Aldaru iela, Riga Cathedral and the Cathedral Square, Herdera laukums, Tree of Mirrors, Egle (open air leisure venue), St. Peter’s Church, House of the Blackheads, Riga Town Hall, Hansabank at Balasta Dambis, Daugava River, Akmens Bridge, Dzelzcela Bridge (railway only), Uzvaras bulvāris, Victory Memorial to Soviet Army, Uzvaras Parks, Tornakalna Railway Station and the Memorial to Soviet Communist Genocide Victims at Tornakalna Station.

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