Thursday, July 7, 2011

Summer Solstice - Latvian Style

When people ask what my background is I usually reply 50% Dutch, 50% Mutt. The mutt thing might suprise a few but to me it simple means that it got so diversified with many different European Countries and they came to Canada so long ago that there isn't much point to figuring it out.

I may not be Latvian but this weekend I got out of the city this weekend to my roommates grandparents cabin for a Latvian St John's Day (Jani) celebration at Sidrabene Camp.  There was TONS of food - think sauerkraut, sausages, chicken, 2 different fishes, tons of other things, one of the favourite's Pirags and the festivals traditional Caraway cheese. After this huge dinner we went down for 'the show'. I was so enamored by the flower wreaths that all the women make and wear and the funny huge leaf wreaths for the men, it felt like i had stepped into a bit of a ferry-tale. This idea was of course helped by the fact that I couldn't understand anything that was going on. The group Chicago 5 played mostly folk songs and near the end home made beer and more cheese was passed around. Later in the night a band came out playing more popular oldies for some dancing and fun. I am not Latvian in the slightest but I do come from a strong Dutch community and it made me thankful that I am able to participate in our own traditions.

It has taught me that one should find their cultural/hertiage community wherever they are (especially North America) and celebrate in these traditions. Making new family and friends and being able to respect and pay tribute to ones ancestors. What are your traditions as a cultural community?

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