Every year in late October, when nature is almost ready for the winter and days shorten considerably, marks the end of autumn as everything falls deeper into hibernation. Along with the fog gates to the other world are opened and it is time to expect our ancestral spirits. Hosting the feast for the dead at the Ethnographic Open-Air Museum of Latvia is a tradition on this Eve and celebrated by singing in honour of our ancestors together with folk groups.
What exactly are these holidays, and when do we celebrate them?
Founded in 1970, the award-winning Weald & Downland Living Museum is a leading museum of historic buildings in England, covering 40 acres in the South Downs National Park in West Sussex. It includes over 50 historic buildings dating from 950AD to the nineteenth centuries, re-erected from their original sites in south east England, together with period gardens, traditional farm animals and a mill pond.
In some countries, Martinmas celebrations begin at the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of this eleventh day of the eleventh month (that is, at 11:11 am on November 11). In others, the festivities commence on St. Martin’s Eve (November 10). Bonfires are built and children carry lanterns in the streets after dark, singing songs for which they are rewarded with candy.
Just a half hour’s drive from Riga’s center, nestled in a pine forest, one of Europe’s oldest and largest outdoor museums can be found alongside the shore of Lake Jugla. It is called the Ethnographic Open-Air Museum of Latvia.