Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania invite everyone to celebrate Baltic Centennial Midsummer on June 23

29.05.2018. 23:57
  • Ārlietu dienests Latvijas valsts simtgadei

The Embassies of the three Baltic countries invite everyone to Dupont Circle on June 23 (11 AM to 3 PM) to join in celebrating one of the most awaited holidays of the year – the Midsummer, marking the longest day and the shortest night of the year in Northern Europe. Midsummer celebration, which predates the arrival of Christianity in the Baltic region, in Latvia is known as Jāņi, in Estonia as Jaanipäev, in Lithuania as Joninės. Strong connection to nature has shaped ancient beliefs and culture of the Baltic peoples for centuries.

This is the celebration when many Latvians, Estonians and Lithuanians wear traditional clothes, prepare traditional foods, drink beer, and gather for a night of dancing, singing and no sleep as one has to wait until the sunlight comes back.

Baltic ancestors also celebrated this magical night by roaming the fields to pick wild plants and flowers believed to possess special powers during that one night only. The Baltic peoples also made wreaths, leapt over bonfires that kept the light throughout the night. Couples escaped into the woods to look for the mythical fern flower said to bloom only during this short six hour night that is mostly dusk.

2018 is a very special year for Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania as all three celebrate the centennials of their modern statehoods. Baltic countries have always had a strong partnership with the United States, therefore Baltic Centennial Midsummer is great opportunity to celebrate this connection.

The three Embassies are collaborating with The Dupont Festival and will offer a variety of workshops for kids and adults. There will be games, traditional songs, dances, and a chance to get a little taste of Baltic foods and drinks.

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Latvia celebrates its centennial in 2018 in the period of several years – 2017 to 2021. The main message of the celebration is “I am Latvia” emphasizing that the greatest asset of Latvia is its people who with their work are creating present day Latvia and together with the next generation are setting the foundation for the future. Baltic Centennial Midsummer celebration at Dupont Circle is part of the public diplomacy program of Latvia’s centennial.