The annual celebration of the summer solstice, known as Jani is generally viewed as the most important Latvian holiday. Jani is celebrated on June 23 and 24. The traditions and rituals associated with the celebration of Jani are deeply rooted in ancient Latvian folklore and continue to have deep symbolic meaning for the celebrants. Participants gather flowers, grasses and oak leaves which are used to make wreaths and decorate the farmstead, house and farm animals. Jani night activities include the singing of special Jani songs (Ligo songs) around a ceremonial bonfire. Home-brewed beer and a special Jani caraway seed cheese are an essential part of this colourful holiday ritual.
Skandinieki is a collective of singers and instrumentalists (a total of 23 are credited on this recording) that marked its 27th anniversary last November. The core of Skandinieki is the Stalts family. Dāvis, Helmi, Julgī, Marga and Ričards Stalts perform on their new CD(Dzied un spēle Skandinieki) Of note is that the Stalts are of Liv descent. Though their numbers have fallen through the years, the Livs are still alive and well in Latvia
Today there are only about 300 Livonians, most of whom have become Latvianised. Approximately 70 of them understand Livonian partially, maybe ten speak it as their mother tongue.
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