The shops are not full of images of Father Christmas, the cafes and restaurants are not heaving with fairy lights. Yet Riga feels a lot more festive than most cities in Western Europe. Yes it does help that is is cold and everyone is wrapped up in big coats with fluffy hoods, that there is snow on the ground and there is a whopping great Christmas Tree in the square next to our hotel, but there is more too it than that.
We attended the lighting of the tree ceremony on Sunday. As it was obviously all in Latvian we didn’t understand a word, except for the countdown. I think that is universal. There was no need for barriers, I think I saw two policemen, the small square was full of people enjoying the Christmas market, drinking Black Balsalm or hot chocolate and enjoying browsing the stalls. There was no brash commercialism, just people having fun.
Also, did you know that the first ever Christmas tree was from Riga?
I am feeling festive in Riga because there is no loud Christmas music blaring out of every shop, there are no plastic Father Christmases, no tinsel on every till. Just a beautiful tree, a lovely market and other people feeling festive.
love Gillie x