Winter Solstice Traditions in Latvia

For millions of people around the world, Christmas is closely tied to Christian beliefs, after all, it is a celebration commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ. In fact, in many languages, the word for the celebration itself has to do with Christ or birth. Not so in Latvian where we celebrate “Ziemassvētki”, literally the “winter festival”. You […]

My Favorite Weird German New Year’s Tradition

Since moving to Germany I’ve had to learn a few things about the New Year’s. First, it’s not called New Year’s Eve over here, it’s Silvester. Second, you don’t wish people happy New Year, instead you wish a guten rutsch, literally, a “good slide” (presumably, into the upcoming year). Third, for some unfathomable reason most […]

How we failed at Germany’s favorite fall tradition

Around the 11th November – the St. Martin’s Day – German daycares and schools prepare for an event called Laternenlaufen or Laternenumzug, roughly translated it means walking with lanterns or lantern pageant. The little ones walk with colorful self-made lanterns and light up the wintry dark streets, parks, and even forests. It’s a beautiful tradition and, […]