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Ziemassvētki collage

Ziemassvētki, also Ziemsvētki[1] is an annual festival which observes the winter solstice and birth of Jesus Christ. In the most of the world it is celebrated from 24th to 26 December (24 December is Ziemassvētki Eve, 25 December - The First Ziemassvētki, while 26 December - Second Ziemassvētki). Christianity assumed, that Jesus Christ was born on 25 December, however, in some of Orthodox churches that date is calculated with Julian calendar, because of that the majority of Orthodox Ziemassvētki is celebrated on 6th, 7th and 8 January.

Ziemassvētki is a holiday in many countries, and it is also celebrated by people, whose religious belief is not Christianity. Ziemassvētki's waiting time is called Advent. Nowadays the customary Ziemassvētki traditions are decorating Ziemassvētki fir, Ziemassvētku vecītis, baking gingerbread and mandarin scent.

Ziemassvētki fir decoration[edit]

Ziemassvētki fir decorating custom was known in Livonia even before the 16th century. The Blackheads guild provided the information in 1510 about winter traditions in Riga and referred to an earlier such events in 1476, therefore, the former executive of Riga's House of the Blackheads and historian Ojārs Spārītis considers the historical information on the tradition of decorating a "Ziemassvētki tree" in Riga to originate in 1476.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ziemsvētki (Latvian). tezaurs.lv. Updated: 5 December 2014.