When one opens the top of the box leading in towards the legends and folklore of Latvia, one may find themselves arriving in a great forest of knowledge and wisdom. Within the majestic details of the Latvian mythology lies an abundance of cultural references you will find satisfying and the folklore of Latvia includes great stories of magical gods and goddesses dancing together, living in harmony. There are many gods including Dievs, Saule, Vels, Laima, Dieva, Janis, Mara and Auseklis to name just a few from the family of Latvian gods. We will dive in to more of these gods here in the future. Dievs is the Creator of everything. As Latvia’s supreme god, he is the symbol of the sky and the sky is a symbol of him. Sing our favorite Dainas and experience the true Latvian summer of 2020.
A History of Latvian Folklore
There once was a time, a long, long time ago, when the Livonian lands were left alone from invaders. Allow me to take you to this time, a time when the legends of Latvia and the Latvian folklore that followed spread across the land and kept Christianity at Latvia’s doorstep. It all begins in Livonia, with the Livonian Brothers of the Sword and the days of Terra Mariana. There were Finnic tribes in the North and Baltic tribes in the south of Livonia and Livonia stretched from Estonia to present day Latvia. Both Danes and Germans were looking to expand towards what is currently present day Latvia, yet before they arrived they had heard the tales of the Baltic peoples love for their gods. And the mythology of Latvia was strong in the tribes of the Baltics and the gods were alive and danced as the legends were told. The stories were told of a land called Latvia, yet the stories were never written, only told by word of mouth. Yes, through the fires of the tribes the stories of Latvia were told.
Latvia Before the Baltic Crusades
Let’s begin the stories by discussing Albert of Riga in 1220 and the Livonians, Latgalians, and Selonians. Because here is when we find what some would call the end of paganism in Latvia and the rise of Christianity. Let us take you to Riga in 1220 and here you find the secrets of Latvia. The Baltic Crusades took place during this time and here is when we see the magic begin to fade. The Livonian Crusades took place throughout the 13th century. Also known as the Northern Crusades, we will get into this in more detail later. What I would like for us to continue to stay focused on is life in Latvia during these times.
Awake in a land of peace. I would like to first introduce you to someone before we begin this journey. I would like to introduce you to Ragana. She will provide for you by seeing into the future. And you are a Knights Templar of the Livonian Order currently at the great Dinaburga Castle. It is said that at the Battle of Riga a curse was set on Albert of Riga and this is how the werewolf began. There are other mentions of werewolves in Latvian history as well.
Latvian Werewolves in Riga
The Symbols of Latvian Folklore
The symbols of Latvia can be seen throughout the country. Traditional Latvian folk symbols are as follows.