December 15th, 2016

Christmas and New Year as the solemn celebrations in Latvia. Two warm stamps introduced by Latvia Post hurries to inform our readers that on the eve of the first Advent Latvia Post has issued two new stamps in the series Christmas so that everyone can have a chance to send their warm greetings for the year-end holidays, Christmas and New Year, in good time.

The stamp with a face value of €0.50 is suitable for sending a regular Class B letter within Latvia. In turn, the stamp with a face value of €0.78 corresponds to the cost of sending a regular Class A letter within the European Union or a regular Class B letter to any country of the world outside the European Union.

“Ziemassvētki” or Christmas in Latvia is marked by an inextricable mix of ethnic, religious and modern traditions making it a truly unique experience. While most in the western world celebrate Christmas as the birth of Jesus Christ, according to pre-Christian Latvian pagan traditions it is the rebirth of the Sun Maiden. Typical ethnic Christmas traditions include participation in ķekatas or mumming as well as dragging the Yule log. Both these traditions, though different in character, serve a similar purpose. The mummers, who are costumed and wear masks of animals and such macabre figures as living corpses and death, bring blessing to the households, encourage fertility, and frighten away evil spirits. The dragging and subsequent burning of the Yule log symbolizes incineration of last year's problems and misfortunes.

Also the New Year celebration is in many ways unique for Latvia. Despite that Latvian New Year is celebrated the same way as in most of the World with fireworks and champagne; a traditional place to celebrate the New Year is at the Freedom Monument in Riga, where the first minutes of the New Year is awaited by many joyful celebrators. It is a very suitable place for welcoming the New Year, those who want to continue the celebration in a club of Riga can do so, because most bars and clubs are located in the nearby old town.

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