Midsummer, Latvian style

Latvia celebrates Midsummer or in Latvian “Līgo”. It is a difficult to translate word because it is way more than “sway” or something like that.

It is an ancient tradition, with traditional foods, traditional beer as drink and wreath. Most men wear the rich oak leaf wreath, but especially these ones, whose name is “Jānis”. We could refer to this name probably as John in English. Women, girls and older ladies wear a flower wreath. Options are endless, but there is definitely noticeable an attempt to compete for the most beautiful wreath. The wreath is supposed to also make the lady, who wears it, looking great, attractive and beautiful. Midsummer night calls for making love and finding your match. The ferns are said to blossom with golden blooms at midnight tonight, and whoever finds that bloom, has found a never ending love. So it’s said in many thousands of folk-songs. Couples go bloom chasing in the middle of night in the forest. Where else are you going to find a ferns blossoming?

My options in Canada are way fewer.

I sometimes make my own caraway seed cheese and hope it would be like the Latvian cheese. However, Canadian milk is not real milk, therefore, it is tough to get it acting like real milk, but taste is quite fine once I have all ingredients working.

This year and today, I am moving. We have been moving things for quite a while, but we hope to finalize the move today.


Therefore, not much celebration today, but it will be nice afterwards.

I won’t also have internet until it gets re-connected at the new place. I will catch up with everything some time next week. I’m using the pictures I took a while ago, but I think it makes sense because back then when I started this second blog, nobody ever saw or read it.


Have a great summer! Enjoy, savor, have fun!

26 thoughts on “Midsummer, Latvian style

    1. Thanks, Cynthia! Move was kind of stretched out over 2 weeks, but it was better than last year. I’m just organizing everything now. Still quite a few boxes to unpack and sort out.
      You’d love to participate in a Latvian Midsummer celebration. Every girl and woman usually wears a flower wreath and many men wear oak leaf wreath, especially these named Jānis.
      We make large fire, eat caraway seed cheese, drink beer and sing numerous Latvian folk songs. There are thousands for each occasion, and Midsummer has really many. Most are 4 line verses. We learn them in early childhood and sing all life, so it just goes from generation to generation. There are numerous open air dance and song parties, sometimes with folk bands. All rooms are decorated with herbs and grasses and flowers. I do that even here in Canada.
      I regret I cannot have the delicious Latvian foods here. I am trying to make my own from ingredients which are available, but that’s not the same.
      This year, I did not celebrate, just posted this because it was the busiest moving day.


    1. Cheese was delicious. I tried to make it using Canadian products. Well, they are way more chemical and did not work exactly as Latvian products do. You probably know that milk is not really milk here. The process went on ok, but it was difficult. Milk in Latvia is still like it should be, and for cheese we really need the real milk and the real cottage cheese features. Butter was also too watery. Only eggs worked as they should. I had caraway seeds, but have run out of them by now.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I miss the Latvian cheese a lot here. I’ve never been fan of Italian style cheese, and even French and other cheese they sell here doesn’t taste like in Europe. I think, I will have to bake my own bread and make my own pasta, too. What I do not like is that grocery store things always have something added or something removed. People, who have no gluten sensitivity, do not benefit one small bit from gluten-free products. People, who want things with all fat (like I do) for their brain, don’t want the fat removed or modified. It’s a lot of fiber recently added to everything. Well, I want my pasta natural, I don’t need extra constipation because of fiber added to everything. I want my bread as is with no additives and nothing removed from it.
      It’s impossible to buy something like that in Canada. Everything is modified, engineered or altered in some way. Not to mention that most of produce comes as GMO. They want to make decisions for me, and I don’t like that either. Let’s say, if I want garlic, I will add it, or if I want dill, I can add it.
      I have been extremely busy. So busy, that there was no time to publish new articles on this blog. I have written quite a few, I will make some time probably after next weekend. It is Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, therefore, I have a good opportunity to sell some things. As you know, in order to do that one has to work a lot.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. theburningheart

    Well, it seems to me, you will be really busy just preparing your own food the way you like it, basically Organic, that means growing your own vegetables, and whatever you may need, like a small farmer, that will be a lot of work to do, I know my Grandma used to live that way.

    I am not telling you what to do, but it will be wise if you explore and get in contact with people where you live interested on Organic living, another word for just to have natural, non treated food, which its the norm since industries took over the food chain of supply, they are looking for their own interest, not for our.

    In California organic its common, and for them to share whatever they produce, and have cooperatives, and Farmers markets in different days on nearby towns, they produce all sort of things, I wonder if Canadians have not got the bug to go organic?

    Anyway Inese, hope you can accomplish all you are trying to do, and wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks!
      Well, I don’t mind work.
      We have some organic stuff here, too. I mean, it is sometimes not organic at all. We go here and there to farmers markets, too. It is possible to find sometimes good produce, not always, though. Canada is famous for GMOs. To the extent, that many countries have refused to import Canadian produce. Dairy products, organic or not are all modified and have something added or removed.
      I do grow my own vegetables whenever possible. I don’t mind that at all. I was digging the garden even with infusion bag hanging over my shoulder. I believe, digging in the soil is extremely good.
      I think I have never had weight issues because I lived up to 46 years on food which came from our own orchard, vegetable garden and green houses.
      I see this all “improved” food stuff as the biggest human experiment ever. Hence, the cancers, obesity, especially, early childhood obesity, Alzheimer’s (avoiding animal fat at all or any fat for 4 or more decades), dementia, cardiac and nervous system diseases, as well as huge decline in cognitive function, and enormous numbers of people with mental disorders and birth defects. That all comes from artificial, modified and engineered food, also supplements, synthetic vitamins and similar over-the-counter things. I have done so many recalls for major pharmaceutical companies over years, and people pass away from these things which they believed were going to help be better off. We have to exercise extreme caution.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. theburningheart

    Yes, Inese, I can see you going back to your roots, and doing things as you, and your Mother did in Latvia.
    Who knows?
    You may start in Ontario, a whole new culture of Organic living, and even maybe profit from it, or write a book, as those Organic farmers do here in California, as from what I hear, and see they do make a good living out of their farming. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, I wasn’t thinking about that. I’ve been in medical research for almost 4 decades now, I cannot simply ignore everything I have learned.
      Farming is nice, but I’m not a farmer. Gardener maybe. I don’t care how small the garden is, I just must have it. I have dug up here in Canada acres and acres of soil, just using the shovel. I love work, I am convinced we really need to work with soil, with plants. Also, my grandmother from fathers side was a great healer. I don”t think we ever had any pills from pharmacy at home when I was a kid. I also later didn’t use anything from pharmacy while in Latvia. I used herbal things, I know all the good grasses, plants and herbs, so, you can make quite a lot.
      I definitely have a lot of knowledge in this area. I noticed recently I’ve become very good with diagnosing conditions and illnesses, too. Just going by symptoms and what I see, didn’t need even any tests, but they help when somebody is a stranger to me and I have seen them for a short time.
      I do want to help people. When I hear from my students what they suffer from, I’m in shock. Maybe people are healthier in California, but I think here we have almost every second very sick with whatever. That’s what bothers me. I am very fine right now. Just working a lot. That’s nothing new, I suppose, I was always a workaholic.
      Just like you, I read plenty, too. I practically don’t watch TV. I do spend some time on the internet, but just to post and respond, or advertise.
      I sometimes check out your articles, and I cannot imagine how much time they would take to write, probably the same what I need to paint a painting which is weeks, and then still photos are needed.
      Thanks so much, such a pleasure to exchange a few words!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. theburningheart

    Yes, we are good at doing what we have being doing all our life.
    As for example, I never stop reading since I was 5 years old, today I read four hours at least, sometimes I can read the whole day.
    It does not take me long to write a post, no more than a few hours, what it takes me long its to decide what I gone write about it.
    As for example I have no idea what I gone write for my next post, something will come around.
    Sometimes I just seat at my computer and start writing the first thing that comes to my mind, then I take it from there.
    For a while I did taught a class, but I do not know how to say this, without sounding arrogant, but I will try, my students were not prepared to breach the gap, or take the challenge of going beyond their comfortable zone of knowledge, my ideas were to them too far off in their mind, in reality nothing of the sort, if you seek it you can find it in the Net, or in many books, its just common knowledge for those who deal with it.
    But it seems to be a gap, between the common person, and how far studies in many subjects, and fields have gone out of the reach of most people, and seem to be a sort of specialty for a few individuals.
    Sort like talking Quantum Mechanics, or Astrophysics to the guy next door, who is happy coming home, and just turn the TV for entertainment, and watch any stupid show.

    As a matter of fact just writing this to you its giving me an idea, about a future post.

    Anyway I understand, their position, and lives, but makes me wonder about the lack of motivation to be challenged intellectually just a little bit.

    But now I am just digressing, and its not important.

    The pleasure its mine Inese, thank you. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Unbelievable! Your posts seem to be well-prepared with many quotes and citations.
      I completely agree about everything you said.
      I also sometimes get post ideas just writing a comment under somebody’s post. I don’t think I am short of ideas about what to write. It might be the opposite: when there are too many, one just doesn’t know what to use right away. The main factor still is time for me. I suppose for most people, who do a lot of things, it is.
      I am preparing the show right now and I have class in the evening which will also take a few hours to set up.
      I also wonder about “lack of motivation to be challenged intellectually just a little bit.”
      While many people at my classes say they are perfectionists, in fact, they apply limitations to whatever they do. We cannot expect perfection if we are new at something. I see also lack of daring, taking a risk (like small risk: what is the worst that’ll happen if you paint your canvas or paper not right), total lack of making decisions and there is also the thing about not trusting oneself.
      Dreamers and risk-takers might get in trouble more often, but their life is soooo much more amazing, interesting and exciting. I think life is too short to explore just one thing, therefore, I am going for everything that comes my way.
      Thanks so much and have a great day!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. theburningheart

    I believe motivation, to do something new, also its lacking in many people, they just go to a routine of daily life, and just do not want to do anything else, and of course living such a life dulls their imagination.

    Maybe the secret of life its not to get set in your ways, as you get old, and be ready to tack new things, or at least go deeper into whatever you are interested.

    You too Inese, have a great day. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely so. People are afraid and scared of challenges and changes, as well of anything which takes some effort and involves something new, hence, there are no guarantees they’ll succeed with that. It’s definitely not the million they guarantee you in lottery. LOL.
      Getting slow, forgetful as one gets older, as well as missing out on initiative, creative spark and being afraid of challenges when we get older is a total myth. We don’t have to. We don’t have to be happy with what we have since we can always strive for more.
      It’s obviously safer to stay in a place where one is and has been for a long time, wrap up oneself in a comforter and sleep in sipping tea with honey.
      It’s great that this doesn’t work for everybody. Here is to those who take on extra challenges and risk their pleasant life to discover something beyond our imagination.


  5. What a lovely, interesting post! Nice, that it’s celebrated in your home-country as well. In Denmark and Sweden we also have midsummer celebrations, as you probably know.
    You wouldn’t want to share the recipe of that cheese, would you? Here in DK we also have a similar cheese. It’s Rygeost, a soft, fresh cheese that then gets smoked. It’s typical for the island of Funen.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! Midsummer is not celebrated in Canada where I’ve been residing for the last 16 years. That’s why I make my own cheese and settings. The recipe is not complex, but I most often just go by feel and I don’t have like amounts of products and ingredients and I also use any process variations. The problem is that Canadian products, especially dairy are very unnatural. For things like cheese, you’d need the most natural products there are. The recipe itself is not complex, but I mean, it really doesn’t work with any dairy product. I’m really busy until Feb 13, but I will try to remember to share the recipe if the cheese will come out by next Midsummer. It is expensive recipe. Canadian dairy products are very high in price and quality isn’t great. That affects the ability of cheese to become cheese.


  6. I’ve been reading a bit through the comments here.
    Really, almost every second Canadian is ill?
    Well actually I’m not surprised, beacause it fits also with what I have observed and with what you say above that diary products are very unnatural in CN and expensive. Veggies are expensive, too… so what you say is true, it’s nice and important to have a garden! It saves a lot of money and keeps you healthy, both with the work you put in and with what you harvest.
    But great that you know how to make cheese. That is so cool!
    You said, you were in medical research… what sort of research did you do?
    greetings from Liv from Denmark

    Liked by 1 person

    1. For about 35 years I was working globally for largest medical companies in patient data analysis, clinical trial and pharmacological data analysis. My main focus was type I diabetes, wound care and products, brain disorders and functions, mental diseases and psychological aspects and preventive medicine. Last year or so I went full time art, but I obviously still have lots of patient data, observations, etc. I am also paying a lot of attention what actually doing art does and how it improves memory. I have people with autism spectrum disorder participating, and I’d say it’s unbelievable what drawing does for them.
      Canada is a place where it is difficult to get products which have not been modified. Everything has something added or removed and that means, it’s been changed from its natural state. You don; t have to be a scientist to notice what alteration and modification, as well as going synthetic has done to population. There is also the aspect of dictating what a person needs to eat and that has been such a misleading info for about 60-70 years now. Food and health products are means to create profit. That is a totally opposite of caring for health.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for filling me in.
        Yes, I believe you that art helps people the way you describe – I have observed the same.
        Sadly I also observed what most people eat in CN and in The US and I am shocked. But i had no idea that it was even worse in CN than it is in the US.
        Unbelievable that people just let it get out of hand like this.
        But also here in Europe it’s going that way that more and more farmers are being driven out of business and investors buy up the land. That’s why I think it’s very important that one these days still has a least a little bit of land left, so one can supply oneself, if one wants and needs to.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I was shocked, too. It’s traditionally that somehow they’ve got the worst of food options and all kinds of diseases come along with that. That’s the reason I cook from scratch and practically never eat out.
        I know what Europe is getting into.
        Yet, I still remember times when we had zero obesity, no allergies and I had not even heard about food sensitivities. It wasn’t even that long ago, still up to 2000 in Latvia.
        Comparing the health issues and lifestyles in Canada and in Latvia allowed me to come up with observations that clearly indicate that most health problems except traumas and similar come from our daily food choices. The more chemically altered and the more modified food we consume, the more we suffer. That literally refers to supplements, as well.
        It’s all done for profit and, yes, we have to be very alert what intentions of the new food or supplement manufacturers are.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Sigh, my family and I feel the same way.
    We try to set a good example though and hopefully inspire others, but the impact of that is of course limited.
    BTW we also never eat out and cook everything from scratch.
    Do you also live in the countryside?
    We tried to get back to basics around 25 years ago… but there are still things today we could improve

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I live in a town. I like living in a big city with access to large backyard even better, it’ s just hard to find such a place which is also affordable. I cannot eat out even if I wanted because that affects me very badly. Companies for profit will certainly cut corners, sometimes even expensive stuff is not that good.
      I used to live in early childhood in a countryside, up to 6 years of age. It was a picturesque place and it still inspires my paintings.
      I don’ t normally think about being an example. My point is that people believe what they see on TV or what influencers tell them to. It would be great we could take out some period of North American chemical food production and return to personal greenhouse and backyard garden of good size.
      I am just very busy, I am setting up my show tomorrow, therefore, very little or no time for blogs.


    1. Thanks very much! I had many surgeries between 2013 and 2019, all after-accident issues, so, I could not walk for long periods of time, etc, and I didn’t also participate anywhere. I will have to catch up now. I am technically retired, but, obviously still working on things I love.
      I’ m not really stressed, but it is the small things which require to be done, designing special tags, attaching wires, packing and it took a while even to find the large and extra large bags I used before. I need makeup and dress-up and also simply breakfast now. We still need to buy the two-way points and then husband is going to drive me and art over there. to town hall.

      Liked by 1 person

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