A lot of cultures celebrate the summer solstice to varying degrees, but there are not many countries where it is a bigger deal than it is in Latvia.
Jāņi is a big annual festival celebrating the solstice, and although astronomically the solstice falls on 21st or 22nd June, the public holidays, Līgo Day and Jāņi Day take place on the 23rd and 24th.
On Jāņi, people travel from the city into the countryside to gather and eat, drink, sing and celebrate the solstice by observe the ancient folk traditions relating to renewal and fertility. This is a time for wreath making, bonfires, and roaming the fields in search of mythical ferns.
So, it would be safe to say that this is a celebration that is all about nature and being outdoors.
Given that, you might think that it would be the perfect time to help out nature by promoting the use of sustainable public transport. To encourage people visiting the celebrations to get on a bus or train instead of driving, maybe by increasing the number of buses or reducing the prices, but that doesn't seem to be what is happening just yet, at least in Riga.
This year across the three days of the celebration, 23rd to 25th June, all of the public transport in the capital, buses, trolleybuses and trams, will run on a weekend timetable, customer service centres will be closed for two of the days, and the ticket prices will remain at their normal rates.
Parking in the capital, on the other hand, will be promoted. With free parking offered on the 23rd and 24th in all of the car parks managed by Rīgas satiksme.
We aren't against free parking, but it would be nice if we were encouraging people to use their cars less during a festival and traditions that celebrate nature so much.
Wherever you are and however you travel, have a great Jāņi and good luck in your search for the mythical fern flower.