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ID number:854531
Published: 21.10.2009.
Language: English
Level: Secondary school
Literature: 2 units
References: Not used

Ancient Latvian’s had four major holidays, which are associated with the positioning of the sun in the sky – the winter solstice, at Christmas, when the night is the longest, the spring and fall solstices when the day and the night are of equal lenght, and the summer solstice, or Jāņi (St. John’s Day), when the day is the longest. The winter and summer solstices bave always had been the major events. Each holiday has had its own typical foods. Esater eggs and St. John’s Day’s cheese are know to have been sybols of the sun. Eggs were cooked at the spring solstice (Easter) because that is a time when hens lay lots of eggs. Cheese was made at the summer solstice (St. John’s Day) because during the summer cowsprovide a lot of milk.
Christmas. We know that foods in ancient times were often of symbolic importance. The snout of a pig, for example, may well have symbolized the plough which farmers used to till their earth. Pig’s snout was cooked together with a barley sub – product called ķūķi, and it was thought to bring people wealth and good fortune. Ķūķi were made in massive mortar and crushed with pestles theat were made especially for this purpose. The grain was thus separated from the chaff. Ķūķi were usually cooked shortly before the winter solstice on an evening which came to be known, logically, as ķūķi night. Other typical Christmas food included peas, beans and blood sausage with pearl barley, because its rounded bend is reminiscent of a circle, symbolising the solar year. According to Latvian tradition you should eat nine meals at Christmas for the coming year to be rich.…

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