Originally, the Vikings celebrated Midsummer as a fertility rite. The May pole was a phallic symbol, which was planted into the earth to symbolically fertilize Mother Nature in hopes of a bountiful harvest later in the year. The celebration marked the Summer Solstice – the longest day of the year and the shortest night.
JĀNIS DAY CELEBRATIONS A great feast, song and dance, the shortest night of the year spent in front of a bonfire, mystical rituals and even a bit of romance – this is what makes the Līgo celebration or Jāņi. Jāņi is celebrated on the summer solstice on 23 and 24 June. This pagan-like holiday is almost more popular in Latvia than New Year's Eve and Christmas.