Associated Folklore

Piragi can be found in almost every facet of Latvian folklore. Whether it is the Summer Solstice celebration or a folksong, you can be sure that you'll be able to find a Pirags in there somewhere.

Around the 24th of June, the Latvians celebrate the Summer Solstice in a festival called "Jani." A sprit of great camaraderie is present with participants taking place in games, songs and other merriment. These celebrations are traditionally held outdoors in a semi-rural area as to simulate the beginnings of the tradition in the Latvian countryside.

Piragi are one of the staple foods of Jani - along with Latvian bread and beer. Attendees of the tradition hold the Pirags in high regard - giving praise to those whose Pirags are well made, and chastising those who have blundered their task. During the celebration, special folk songs (Ligo songs) are sung that serve to bring to light various (mostly negative) traits that a person might have. One such trait that is sung about is if someone had brought burnt Piragi to the celebration. Piragi serve to symbolize the richness of the harvest that one has had, so in Piragi preparation, there is great incentive to put one's best foot forward - lest one face ridicule by one's peers.

In addition to Piragi being a snack food and a symbol of cultural heritage, there are several folk beliefs associated with the roll. It has been said that an unmarried girl will find herself a husband faster, if she eats the first Pirags that comes out of the oven.

Rural Life picture
Published in photo book "Riga - Devinas dziesmas pa Rigu"
Publisher: Riga Avots 1988