Jāņi in Latvia in 2021

Jāņi in Latvia in 2021
Image by Kārlis Dambrāns , via Flickr

  How long until Jāņi?
Jāņi
  Dates of Jāņi in Latvia
2022 Latvia Fri, Jun 24 National Holiday
2021 Latvia Thu, Jun 24 National Holiday
2020 Latvia Wed, Jun 24 National Holiday
2019 Latvia Mon, Jun 24 National Holiday
2018 Latvia Sun, Jun 24 National Holiday
  Summary

Jāņi marks the summer solstice and the shortest night of the year on St. John's Day.

  Local name
Jāņi

When is Jāņi?

This Latvian public holiday is celebrated each year on June 24th. 

The previous day, Midsummer Eve (Ligo) is also a public holiday. Depending on what day of the week, these holidays fall on, then additional bridge holidays may also be declared.

History of Jāņi?

Jāņi marks the summer solstice and the shortest night of the year and it has become one of the most important holidays in Latvia. 

At the summer solstice, the northern hemisphere is tilted at its maximum angle towards the sun resulting in the maximum amount of hours of daylight. In astronomical terms, the longest day of the year takes places on either 20th June or 21st June. 

Since ancient times, this midsummer day has been observed and celebrated by many cultures. In the agricultural calendar, it was a time to celebrate the sowing of the crops and enjoy the short break before harvest began. In Northern Europe, its effects are more pronounced with very long days, which of course is contrasted six months later when the winter solstice (Ziemassvētki) results in very long nights in that part of the world.

With the Christianisation of Latvia, Jāņi was moved to St. John's Day.

During the Soviet era, the celebration of ethnic holidays such as Jāņi were suppressed by the authorities as they were seen as nationalistic when the focus should be on the Soviet Union as a collective.

Since independence in 1990, the holiday has been reinstated and the (at least) two-day break for Ligo and St. John's Day has proved a popular holiday period for Latvians to take some time off and enjoy the weather at this time of year.

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