One more unique “Count of May” Festival has been completed successfully, and we cannot wait to share how intense it was! The celebration that combines the medieval atmosphere, history, fantasy, and creativity having the aim to unite different cultures, eras, and people offered an exciting opportunity for everyone to get in touch with our vision about how traditional and modern elements do work at their best when combined in the right way.
The “Count of May” is a tradition that came from the Middle Ages, when the winner was chosen at tournaments – the best warrior of the city, who received the title of “May Count” and the right to call his chosen one “May Countess”. This couple symbolized the union of valor and love, and was also a symbol of fertility, a new life cycle. The title of Countof May was retained for a year, until the next tournaments, when a new winner was chosen. This annual spring holiday came to us from Celtic mythology, passed through different countries of Europe and, with the help of the Brotherhood of the Blackheads, came to Riga in the Middle Ages. Riga celebrates a Count of May festival for more than 550 years.
While trying to keep the most important elements of the cultural/historical traditions of Riga, the festival is evolving, moving in the direction of the modern carnival tendencies, and promoting the interaction of different cultures that live in Latvia side by side.
The cultural organization “Alternative Reality” together with volunteers from Latvia and other European countries having the significant support of the European Solidarity Corps organized the festival of “Count of May” for 11 years in a row.
Our open-air event succeeded in its goals such as the psych emotional support to visitors as well as the promotion of the restoration of spiritual and natural energy. Positive emotions inspire new ideas in life and that’s what we did! Furthermore, we celebrated the diversity of cultural traditions of residents and visitors of Latvia.
We worked all together for 50 days, we shared our knowledge and passion, bringing fresh ideas, making the best out of everyone, finding solutions to every issue that occurred, planning, and having backup solutions. Volunteers and organizers worked together as one presenting a wonderful and free experience for every person who had the chance to be around during that weekend. The challenges were countless, but as always, we worked day and night to make true one more humble dream for our beloved city, for everyone who was open to experiencing this amazing fairytale weekend!
Thousands of people, both adults, and children every year, visited the beautiful Vermanes park and had the chance to meet this medieval tradition, enjoy, try new things, learn new skills, dance, sing, discuss, and even watch some spectacular medieval fights by professionals. Visitors had the opportunity to participate in or watch a bunch of activities such as costume contests, performances of artists representing different genres and cultures, musicians and dancers, medieval attractions, demonstrations of knightly battles and tournaments for children and adults, quest games, art and craft workshops, medieval fair, as well as a Fire and a LED show. All activities of the festival were made by young volunteers from Latvia, Greece, Turkey, Ukraine, Hungary, and Poland with passion and countless hours of work.
This year, we focused on presenting a wide variety of cultures and creative activities that bring people together and make people indeed Masters of their craft or creativity. With all our diversity, we can find common ground. Our diverse cultures, talents, and Master skills helped us to enrich each other spiritually and emotionally. We also focused on the health aspect of the event – a walk-carnival in nature – and positive emotions which contribute to restoring physical and spiritual forces that we need so much in our stressful life.
We would like to say a huge thanks to everyone who supports and believe our ideas. The renewal of our appointment is exactly one year from now. Can’t wait to have you there as a part of our dream! Fare thee well!
Additional information on http://www.maijagrafs.lv/home-1/
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