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Winter ball, Riga,
26 December 2003

      The annual Winter ball in the Ethnographical open-air museum already became irreplaceable and awaited event of the Riga folklore life. Already from the name is perceptible, that the ball does not apply for an exact reflection of the traditional festivities, however, it offers to people a joyful hullabaloo, uniting in it a music, songs, dances, a romanticism of bonfire and candles.
      As against the previous years, there was no snow, and therefore in the museum was too dark and dank.
      Already at entrance, in the Pub of Pine, a show was showed.
      Many buildings of the museum were open, heated up and filled by a light of candles, lanterns and hearths.
      In the Courland courtyard it was possible to observe a manufacturing of straw decorations. There must perform two groups: Dandari and Baļķi. Unfortunately, Baļķi have not appeared, therefore Dandari have worked for both.

Dandari' musicians Ilmārs and Zane

      Dandari' musicians, represented by only two persons, a violin and a mandoline or small zither player, sounded very pleasant.

It is possible to see trough the window the dancing of Dandari

      In the Nida house has singed bard Austra Pumpure, and her fans singed together with her.
      Near the smithy worked a smith and trainees. On the other side of the road it was possible to taste some hot beer.

A teacher already works

      In the building of the Zemgalian school a teacher teached to spell. It sounds like something boring, however, the way it was done was so charming and full of jokes, that it became a fascinating show.

Andris Gobiņš with his "schoolchild"

      In the Liflandian courtyard burned a fire, above which in a large copper was cooked a tea. Not far of it, in the Liflandian threshing barn, were classes of casting of candles - there was a smoke and a strong smell of wax in it.

Musicians of The Riga Dance club

      On the stage near Liflandian courtyard have performed folklore ensembles, and a half an each hour the Riga Dance club have showed folk dances. At the dancing place was a slippery dirt, but, thank god, dancers not once have not falled down to it. The dancers tried to involve spectators too, but, unfortunately, they did not show a big desire to join the dances.

Performs Skandinieki

      Skandinieki, though in an incomplete stuff, sounded convincingly as always, the songs were picked up very well. The group were in modern clothes with only some traditional components.

Atštaukas propagates year by year

      Many folklore ensembles from different places of Latvia (Atštaukas, Turki, Milzkalnieki, Sudmaliņas, Dzieti etc.) took part in this event, and some of them have performed on the stage near Lifland's courtyard too.

Mummers from Turki

      Pleasantly, that the folklore ensemble Turki mostly uses traditional masks. Other mummers of the ball had masks of worse quality - I seen even a factory-made pig and other kindergarden-like attributes.

Masks of Milzkalnieki were of different quality

Ilga and Andris in Pine's pub

      From four up to six in Pine's pub too was some dancing music; it was played by Ilga Reizniece and Andris Davidons - already somewhere heared partnership of a violin, an accordion and two nice voices.

The ball finishes by dances in the Pine's pub

      With a big enthusiasm have danced all the present people. After termination of performances at other places, the pub was filled by thirsteds for continuation, but, unfortunately, this place was closed too after a short time. Thus, it would be nice to make the pub's dancing later next years. It will be a beautiful ending!

      Article: Laura Pīgozne, 2 January 2004
      Photos: Laura Pīgozne

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