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Behind door number 19 awaits charming Latvia, where the Baltic Sea carries stories to the shore, and the dunes dance in the sunset! 



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One captivating Christmas tradition in Latvia is "Ziemassvētki" or "Midnight Christmas." A distinctive and symbolic ritual associated with this celebration is the "Spinning of the Sun." On the evening of December 24th, people venture outdoors to spin a specially carved wooden top representing the sun. This ritual serves as a poignant symbol of the winter solstice, signifying the return of longer days and the triumph of light over darkness.

Another notable tradition during Ziemassvētki is the lively and colorful "Mummer's Play." Participants, adorned in costumes depicting mythological figures or animals, traverse from house to house, delivering performances filled with merriment. The Mummers, also known as "Miesnieki," are believed to bring good luck and well-wishes for the upcoming year, enhancing the festive atmosphere.

Additionally, there is the charming "Kitten's Day" on December 25th. Children don cat costumes and visit homes to collect sweets. This tradition is rooted in the belief that the playful and spirited nature of kittens helps drive away malevolent spirits, adding a delightful and protective aspect to the holiday.

These customs exemplify Latvia's rich cultural tapestry, blending ancient pagan traditions with unique local festivities, creating a distinctive and vibrant Christmas celebration.

Recipe Kartupelu biezputra

Kartupelu biezputra is a traditional Latvian dish often served during Christmas and other festive occasions. It is a type of potato porridge or potato mash made from potatoes, bacon, onions, and sour cream. This dish is known for its hearty and savory character.
Here's a recipe for Kartupelu biezputra, the traditional Latvian potato porridge:

•    1 kg potatoes, peeled and diced
•    200 g bacon, diced
•    1 large onion, finely chopped
•    200 ml sour cream
•    Salt and pepper to taste

1.    Boil the diced potatoes in lightly salted water until they are soft. This should take about 15-20 minutes. Drain and set aside.
2.    In a separate pan, fry the diced bacon over medium heat until it becomes crispy and golden brown. Remove the bacon from the pan and set it aside, leaving the bacon fat in the pan.
3.    In the same pan with the bacon fat, add the finely chopped onions. Sauté the onions until they become soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
4.    Mash the cooked potatoes with a potato masher or fork until they are smooth and lump-free.
5.    Combine the mashed potatoes with the sautéed onions and half of the crispy bacon. Mix well.
6.    Gradually add the sour cream and continue to mix until the porridge has a creamy consistency. Adjust the amount of sour cream to your desired texture and taste.
7.    Season the dish with salt and pepper to taste.
8.    Serve the Kartupelu biezputra warm, garnished with the remaining crispy bacon pieces.

This Latvian potato porridge is a comforting and flavorful dish, perfect for festive occasions like Christmas. Enjoy!

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