Sunday, November 10, 2013

Budēļi - the Latvian Halloween

Today is 10th november a names day for Mārtiņš (closest equivalent I can think of in english is Martin) and otherwise known Mārtiņdiena (so this would be a Martinday and as it turns out we are not the only ones who celebrate it). This is a happy celebration of the end of quiet time called Veļu laiks and a beginning of joyful and derring-do time budēļi.

Veļu laiks is the time between Miķeļi (another names day on 29th september) till Mārtiņdiena (10th november) .. a quiet time .. a time to thank the ghosts of our ancestors leaving some food and drinks for them to feast on. Remembering those who have left our world and telling stories about old times. Our ancestors spent this time preparing for winter. Nowadays most of us just go to the store for almost everything .. but a lot of people still make their own jelly or pickled cucumbers and stuff like this.

Budēļi is kind of like halloween but lasts not just one night but from 10th of november till the end of february (precise time would be 7 weeks before Easter), although biggest activity is around Christmas and new year. The name itself has grown from a word meaning - to stimulate, to urge, to encourage.

For latvians the masked visitors went from home to home with good intentions. Scaring away all the bad and evil with loud behavior, singing songs, playing "drums" on pots with wooden spoons and so on .. and of course laughing a lot. These masked visitors were welcomed and usually gifted with something that the hostess had to give (pie, bacon, dried fruit... ).

In nowadays however a lot more children choose to celebrate the american Halloween unfortunately they do not know what it means .. and it's used just as excuse to go around asking for the candy ...

So today my little family will get a bit fancier dinner than usually in sundays to celebrate the beginning of this joyful time budēļi.

Let's get the party started!
so I am off to the kitchen to prepare the cake and everything else :)

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