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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a Latvian folk festival. It arose among the ancient Latvian tribes of farmers and livestock raisers and was connected with the cult of the sun and fertility. The festival is similar to the Ivan-Kupala festival among the Slavic peoples. During the shortest night of the year (June 23–24), bonfires were lit, and the celebrants jumped across the fires and poured water over each other. They searched for the magic fern frond and braided garlands. A special round cheese with caraway seeds, symbolizing the sun, was prepared. The participants sang songs with the refrain līgo —an exclamation of joy. The līgo has been retained in Soviet Latvia as a traditional summer festival, although it has lost its religious and magical significance.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.