The last week of Lent (Holy Week) for Latvians is called klusā nedēļa, or ‘quiet week.’ The Latvian Easter traditions and customs are quite unique. I am sharing how we celebrate the week leading up to it. It is easy to carry out with your own family!
We kick off our celebrations with pūpolu svētdiena, Palm Sunday. The first member of the household that awakens earns the privilege to give everyone else a wake-up call with a bunch of pussy willow branches! Pussy willows are early harbingers of spring, and can be commonly found in the Latvian countryside (as opposed to palms…). Remember to bid your family “apaļš kā pūpols, vesels kā rutks, slimības laukā, veselību iekšā” as you wake them – wishes of good health in the coming year!
Coloring of Eggs in Latvian Easter Traditions:
During the week we continue our preparations by coloring Easter eggs. The traditional methods utilize onion skins, red cabbage and other natural supplies to color and decorate eggs, resulting in dark brown and purple eggs with beautiful designs and patterns. For a more in-depth guide on dyeing your eggs in this fashion, please visit my posts “Œufs blancs” and “Natural Easter Eggs.”
As the weekend approaches, preparations continue. Thursday is known as zaļā ceturtdiena (“green” Thursday), followed by lielā piektdiena (Good Friday). Either Friday or Saturday I will prepare my grandmother’s paska recipe (which can be found here), a dessert that is borrowed from the neighboring Eastern Orthodox countries.
Finally Easter Sunday arrives! After church our family will meet for a large Easter lunch, and popular American traditions such as an egg hunt have been incorporated into our celebration. However, there are numerous Latvian customs that make our Easter unique, such as the battle of the eggs (olu sišanās) and swinging – šūpošanās. This magical ritual reflects the rising and setting of the sun, and not only helps the sun climb higher into the sky, but keeps away the mosquitoes the coming year!
I wish each and every one of you priecīgas Lieldienas, and a happy Easter, and may your family traditions bring you as much happiness as have ours.
For more Easter ideas:
This post is part of our Easter Around the World series. Follow along as we explore diverse Easter traditions from around the globe!