Onward to Autumn!

  • 2016-09-06

Aizvakar ķimenēm izbira graudi,
vakar bērni pār kalnu
nesa dzeltenas saulpuķu galvas,
bet šonakt
vējš atnācis sētu noklāt
sarkanām lapām.
- Māris Čaklais

The night before last, the caraway grains were scattered,
Last night, the children down the hill brought the yellow blooms of sunflowers,
but tonight the wind has come to cover the yard
with red leaves.
- Māris Čaklais


As the summer sun fades away and the dark hours begin to creep in, the Baltics welcome the fall with open arms.
With several Olympic medals under their belts, the people of the Baltics are beginning to settle into a comfortable routine of teas, foraging, and enjoying the delights of the outdoors in the glorious time between the summer heat, and freezing winter. In short, fall is the perfect Baltic season. This fall, City Paper takes readers to a variety of off-the-path places, from the Sabile doll garden and crosses of Estonia’s Rosma forest, to exploring the often overlooked Icelandic-Baltic connection, now made more accessible with the newly launched airBaltic flights to Reykjavik from Riga.

There is no shortage of autumnal events (from the Lamprey Festival in Salacgriva) and visions (to the brilliant changing of the leaves in Sigulda) to fill your fall to the brim. The Baltic people are often noted for their unique grave culture, and this season we take you through a few examples of the intriguing marks left behind by ancient and not-so-ancient peoples in our stories about the crosses of Rosma forest, and the cemeteries of Latvia.

Never ones to be overly maudlin, the Baltic people, who spend far more time in cemeteries and graveyards than most, enjoy reminiscing, remembering, and revering those who have passed. Of special note, All Saints Day on November 1st, and Lithuania’s Day of the Souls (Vėlinės) on November 2nd. On those nights, candles are lit in the cemeteries and for the graves of family members, and those whose graves are uncared for. The most visited cemeteries in Vilnius are Rasu kapines, Antakalnio kapines, and Bernardindu kapines, aglow with candlelight through the evening. St. Martin’s Day is also a much attended festival time in the Baltics, with markets full of autumn’s bounty, and more types of apples than you ever knew existed. This holiday also marks the beginning of the colder season, as well as years past when folks used to go masquerading and singing door to door.  

Capture your favorite fall moments in the Baltics and share them with us using #citypaperBaltics to be featured on our Facebook or Twitter pages!

Monika Tomsevica

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