Weekend Events: Advent Adventures

Venite, adoremus! While some think it's too early to celebrate, waiting for the quiet time of the year simply wouldn't be the same without the numerous fairs, gnomes, gingerbread and events such as lighting up Christmas trees all over the place. As for the latter, Rīga is in some accounts the city where the first-ever Christmas tree was erected 500 years ago. It's natural then that Latvia holds a special allure to holiday goers during this wonderful season. 

(Tallinn and other cities also claim to be the birthplace of the Christmas tree, but let's not get too opportunistic alright?) 

1. Lighting the Christmas tree across Latvia

The time has come to decorate and light Christmas trees across Latvia.

On Saturday, November 28 at 4:30 PM the Christmas tree will be lit up at the Rožu square in the city of Cēsis. At 5 PM the same will take place at Ventspils' Rātslaukums.

On November 29 similar activities are scheduled for 4 PM in Dobele and Carnikava (at market squares), and in Valmiera by the Town Hall. Tilža will shine bright at 4:30 PM, at 5 PM the Doma square in Rīga, the culture and recreation center square in Balvi and in Biksti, while at 6 PM ditto that for Kalngale.

The largest celebration is reserved for Rīga where at 5 PM the Doma square the lighting up of the Christmas tree will be marked with a concert featuring the Knīpas un knauķi children's vocal ensemble and the tube quartet Magic 4. A pop song collection will be sung by soloists as well.

The tree has been handpicked by mayor Nils Ušakovs himself.

Many smaller events will take place across the suburbs and neighborhoods of Rīga.(Photo: Andrey Shavrei, Pictured: David Datuna, one of the participants at Riga Art Fair, with his Latvian flag, to be presented to the President of Latvia)

2. Riga Art Fair

The Riga Art Fair is an international contemporary art event held for the second time now from November 24 to November 29 at the National Railway History Museum. This year galleries from Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Russia, Indonesia, Georgia, Estonia, Mexico and Latvia are participating. 

"In autumn people from all across the world will gather here," organizer Dags Vidulejs told LSM's Russian-language service journo Andrey Shavrei while passing him by on a bicycle. Vidulejs' bold claim has come true for the second consecutive year. 

Last year some 6,000 flocked to the fair to see what's great in contemporary art across the globe.

The opening hours are:

Friday 10 - 18;
Saturday 10 - 17;
Sunday 10 - 16.

3. Headbanging for the advent

The Melnā Piektdiena (Black Friday) club will hold, at 8 PM on the first advent, a very heavy concert of the booming metalcore act We Came as Romans, hailing from the city of Troy, Michigan.

Two British bands with bombastic names and equally heavy tunes - To Kill Achilles and Vanity Draws Blood - will feature as the opening acts.

Tickets and info about the venue.

4. Religious tunes in traditional sounds

The festival "Sounds of the kokle in the lustre of winter" features six concerts in six houses of God across Latvia, with the opening concert being held at 4 PM on November 28 at St. Jacob's Catcholic cathedral.

The kokle, a traditional plucked instrument, will be played by the Cantata, raksti and Jāzepa Vītola Music Academy ensembles. The concert will feature pieces by Mozart, Grieg, Sibelius, and other renowned composers.

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