Traditional markets sprout in Riga

  • 2013-12-19
  • By TBT staff

WINTER SPECTACLE: A good starting point for Christmas shopping and celebrations is Riga’s Dome Square.

RIGA - For some people Christmas is a time for rejoicing and a rush of fun-filled activities; for others it’s a time for delectable meals, shopping in crowded malls, exchanging gifts by the side of beautifully adorned trees.
Christmas markets are a big, festive tradition all over the world and a huge attraction for anyone looking for pre-Christmas holiday fun. They are an ideal place to get your Christmas shopping started, with plenty of gift ideas and traditional food and drinks to sample. There are lots and lots of Christmas markets around the world, which are becoming more and more popular year by year.

Riga’s Christmas markets already established themselves as amongst the best-visited ones in Europe. Certainly what it lacks in tradition, it makes up for in atmosphere and ambiance.
This year, the annual Old Town Christmas Fair celebrates its 10th anniversary. 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 scarves, amber and silver jewelry, 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 from which to send postcards.
Rabbits and a pony await children here; and, of course, Santa Claus will entertain you to make the Christmas celebration memorable.

Do you wish to return to the land of your childhood? As of the first Sunday of Advent, you are welcome to the Christmas fair on Livu Square! The joyful sound of children’s laughter, small bells of merry-go-rounds, fluffy snowflakes and the scent of spices, roasted nuts and almond will bring back the Christmas miracle from your childhood.
Under the light of multi-colored lanterns, Latvian craftsmen and artists will offer their artwork. Artisan jewelry, Christmas ornaments, woodwork, knitted hats and socks, ceramics - you can enjoy a romantic stroll and select your Christmas presents leisurely.

If your nose is freezing and your stomach empty, it’s time for a warm drink and a honey bun! The fair’s Christmas music will put you in a good mood.
Children will be treated to various surprises, Santa Claus, Christmas elves, the opportunity to sing songs, recite poems, receive presents, crafts and games!

The Christmas fair on Livu square has been filling the hearts of Rigans and the city’s guests with joy for several years. This year, it will experience changes - completely new visual setting.
In one of the most beloved streets of pedestrians in Riga, located in just a 10-minute walking distance from the Freedom Monument — Kr. Barona Street 30 — a special “Christmas Store” will be opened in December created according to the pop-up concept, i.e. the store is opened for a particular period of time and the offer is related to a particular topic. The main idea of the “Christmas Store” is to create a place where you can purchase beautiful, original things that are mainly manufactured in Latvia. It can be compared to an Embassy of Santa Claus offering not only to buy presents, but also to wrap them up.

Besides Christmas markets, there will be plenty other activities held all over the city. The Latvian Ethnographic Open-air Museum will host a Winter Ball and “Games of light in the winter twilight” – when the museum turns into a fairy tale land with illuminated buildings and rooms. As you look inside the window, you can see how Latvians used to live and celebrate festivities in winter.

Kipsala Hall offers a big Christmas concert with the best Latvian soloists, orchestra “Riga” and the best Latvian choirs. Program includes composers from eras and popular Christmas songs in modern settings.

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