Latvia weekend events: Not that spooky after all

The spookiest weekend of the year is not that spooky in Latvia - although many do celebrate it, Latvians aren't really keen on Halloween. It's dark and depressing enough as it is. Still there is some secret fright in the numerous manors of Latvia, along with quite some history found in this weekend, so without further ado let's look at how to make your Latvian weekend more interesting. 

1. On the Way to the Latvian Nation

An exhibition dedicated to the period when the Latvian nation was forming has opened at the Latvian National History Museum. 

"The exhibition displays four major aspects of ethnic identity that characterizes Latvians as an ethnic community, and reflects its formation process, that is, how the territory inhabited by the Latvians had been formed, what changes have affected the spiritual and material culture, traditions and language."

The exhibition encompasses the period from the 13th to the 19th century and features folk costumes and adornments worn by Latvians historically, along with ceramics and household goods. Books showing the development of the Latvian language are on display as well, as literature helped unify and standardize the Latvian language.

More info about the exhibition. 

2. Halloween romance in Latvian manors

Thirty-three Latvian manors will open doors to visitors in the yearly Night of the legends (Leģendu nakts) on October 31. Candles will cast light on the manors, there'll be fire in the fireplace, romantic music will resound on the castle walls, stories and legends will be told, once again dance will take over the luxurious halls, and yards and parks will once again welcome barons, counts, and noblemen with noblewomen. 

So, for example, visitors will be lead to the Apriņķi manor basement you will be welcomed to taste the soup of the nobility, while the Dundaga manor will treat visitors with equally noble sweets. Those looking for something Halloween-y will feel right at home at Zvārtava Manor where A night with the soldier will be held, relating the sad tale of one soldier who unwittingly shot himself and died in the castle. It opens doors at 6 PM and, among other things, you'll be able to view the exhibitions on display at the manor. 

More info (only in Latvian, sorry! Google Translate should help). 

3. Festival Porta

This weekend and the next will see the world music festival Porta with concerts of musicians from Northern Europe to the middle of Africa. On October 31 the Daile music hall will host the Georgian ethno-jazz band The Shin with the Latvian-Georgian project Es arī as well as Basque txalaparta virtuosos Oreka TX. They'll be joined by performers of happy music, the Portuguese band Oquestrada. 

On November 1 Oquestrada will play at the Ogre culture center, while The Shin and Es arī will perform at the Saldus School of Music and Art.

Info & tickets.

4. Halloween music

Nabaklab will host the Horror pin-up Halloween at 9 PM on October 31 at Zigfrīda Annas Meierovica bulvāris 12. The evening will showcase a number of competitions, fashion shows and horror movie screenings. The stage will be taken by local acts such as PND, The Big Bluff, The Coco’nuts, Kapakmens and Ability, along with DJs to keep you warm and fuzzy. 

Entrance will be considerably cheaper if you show up in a Halloween costume (€2 instead of €5). 

While the New Music Festival “ARENA” continues on the weekend with three concerts - on October 30 the second performance of Canto 33 - the work contains texts from Dante's Divine Comedy - a new piece by Swiss composer Helena Winkelman will be held at St. Peter's Church in Rīga at 7 PM. It was written in Basel in 2007, and had its premiere this year on 24th October in Erfurt (Germany). Winkelman will perform the violin herself, and she'll be accompanied by Latvian Radio Choir with conductor Kaspars Putnins (Latvia).

While on October 31 at 6 PM the Baltais fligelis hall in Sigulda will see the folk and contemporary music improvisation program From the Alps to the Gaiziņš where Helena Winkelman (Switzerland) and Valdis Muktupavels (Latvia) will present a special impromptu performance.

The weekend will conclude with the NO SAY NO WAY percussion concert where composer François Sarhan and percussionist Jennifer Torrence will perform at the Culture Hall 3 Sisters in Riga at 5 PM. 

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