Photo: Kin Li
Soon, many homes will be filled with a special festive atmosphere, pussy willows or birch branches will be arranged in the vase. The voice of spring will be all around - the birds will be heard outside the window, the wind will blow and children's laughter will be heard everywhere. When you hear the word "Easter", an association occurs with light and warmth this is because mother nature brings us more and more sunny days.
How to celebrate this holiday? Perhaps this article will inspire you for a few new family traditions.
MIZO is from North Europe, Latvia if specifically. In Latvia, Easter is celebrated differently. Some of these celebrations are marked by adherence to Christian traditions, including Lent, Pentecost, Silent Week, Green Thursday, Good Friday, Easter.
We as well as many others celebrate the onset of spring with traditional activities like swinging, painting eggs in onion skins and latter rolling them as well as singing songs.
In Easter, Latvians are having a spring solstice, which is celebrated in honor of the arrival of spring and sun. This is the time to mark the victory of the Sun over darkness and the awakening of nature.
Photo: Mareks Steins
In Latvian folklore, there are different beliefs and ancestral traditions on what to do at Easter to get well on with neighbors and to do prosper at home. Here are the three brightest Easter traditions of ancient Latvians, which are still maintained today.
Do swings and store energy
In the past, swings were mostly built at the top of a hill, in an apple orchard or even by a river. Swinging helps the sun sway up to the mountains of the sky.
Easter beliefs say that a good swing helps the awakening of the spirit and scares away desire of sleeping.
Kids love swings, therefore each year we are having Easter swings contest during which we get to the countryside, play hide and seek with eggs, do egg rolling contest and swing - a lot. One more Latvian tradition is saying if you swing in Easter, mosquitos won't bite you on following summer.
Get a bright mind, health, and beauty
In Easter morning you should get up early to guarantee vitality and happiness all year round but that's not the only thing.
If before the sunrise you will get to wash your face in fresh spring water you will be more satisfied and active throughout the year, however, if you will wash on running water which runs against the sun you will gain more vitality, mind brightness, health, and beauty.
Getting up early not only sets day straight and fresh but helps to prepare Easter breakfasts for your family and little one. We haven't washed the face in fresh spring water, but this we will do that this year for sure.
Egg as a symbol of sun and fertility
Fertility accelerates in the spring. One of the most Easter traditions include coloring eggs, but then egg fighting.
In painting eggs, the greatest artist is nature itself. Onion peels, various young branches, and sprouts of plants, birch leaves, various flowers, spruce needles, seeds, tea - all this are useful for making the most colorful eggs. Beliefs say that:
- If the father of the family at Easter morning cuts first egg in parts, how many people are there, each gets a piece, then the family will live in harmony;
- Exchanging with eggs and giving them serves to create sympathy, friendship, and favor;
- Egg battles take place on Easter morning. When the shell breaks, new life is released into the field, delivering the sun in freedom. In the past, on the morning of the first holiday, egg fight was done only with the pointed end of the egg, the second - also with the thick. The beaten egg was returned to the owner of the strongest egg.
Once you are acquainted with the magic of the spring solstice, it is time for you to prepare for the holidays. Bring spring home and capture memories. Being close to nature in traditional celebrations is the core value of the Latvians. If you haven't, try described Easter traditions within your family and share your story with us.
Edgars, Craftsman at MIZO