Welcoming the spring - Metenis day
In the beginning of February, seven weeks before Easter, Latvians celebrate Mentenis day (also called Vastlāvis). Alike Maslenica in Russia and Carnivals in Europe, Metenis day is a farewell to the winter and welcome to the summer. In Latgale (east part of Latvia) where Catholic traditions are strong, this is also the day before the Fasting starts.
Since Meteni are in February when people happen to be less busy, then this was the time of the year when friends and relatives visited each other extensively. Thus Metenis table is very rich with various treats for expected and unexpected guests - peas (pea balls), beans, barley porridge, pancakes from either barley flour or pea/bean flour, pork head (half), pork ears and tail, Pīrāgi (bacons rolls) as well as various round shaped scones - a symbol for upcoming spring (i.e. sun). Also beer was specially prepared for Metenis celebrations.
The scones used to have rich filling (thus named Slokārtnis) - either a mash of hemp-seeds, cottage cheese and sour cream or meat stuffing that was covered by a thin dough “lid”. The baked scones in Metenis day were relatively large 15 to 20 cm wide – and adults were joking that „children could sit on them and slide from the snowy hilltops”, the latter had to be done to ascertain good crop for the coming year
Metenis day recipes
Read about other festivities of Latvian Solar Year