In ancient Latvia, Ziemassvētki (Winter holiday) was a festival, celebrated on 22 December, which was one of the two most important holidays, the other being Jāņi. Ziemassvētki celebrated the Winter Solstice. The two weeks before Ziemassvetki are called Veļu laiks, the "season of ghosts." Three postage stamps were issued on 3 December 2005 to commemorate this festival.
During the festival, candles are lit for Dieviņš and a fire is kept burning until the end, when its extinguishing signals an end to the unhappiness of the previous year. During the ensuing feast, a space at the table is reserved for Ghosts, who was said to arrive on a sleigh. During the feast, certain foods are always eaten: bread, beans, peas, pork and pig snout and feet. Carolers (Budeļi) go door to door singing songs and eating from many different houses. Celebrants believe that during the feast ghosts arrive on a sleigh.