Latvian mittens to warm 9,000 summit hands
What will 9,000 hands have in common during the NATO Summit in Riga this November? 4,500 pairs of traditional hand-made Latvians mittens!
That’s what the NATO Summit Latvia Task Force is preparing for Summit guests. The mittens are being specially knitted by hundreds of women and men around the country ranging in age from 30 to 86. At least half of the mittens have already been produced, turning 190 kilos of Latvian wool into 2,250 pairs of traditional mittens steeped in Latvian folklore, customs and beliefs.
Each pair features a unique design, utilizing a wide variety of traditional colors, patterns and symbols. For Latvians, mittens are much more than a way to warm your hands. Every ethnographic Latvian mitten tells a story, marks an anniversary and represents a specific region in Latvia. Some mitten designs are specially intended for weddings or other special events. There is even a rich tradition of folkloric etiquette associated with the wearing, storing and displaying of mittens.
While most Latvians will not be able to attend the NATO summit, you could say that hundreds will have a hand in making the NATO guests feel at home. Many of the knitters are producing an average of three pairs for the Summit, although many, excited by the prospect of sharing their traditional skill with the world, are eager to produce more. For most Latvians, this project is a special source of national pride, because it combines tradition, culture and history with something of lasting practical value that will be enjoyed around the world.
The massive knitting project will be completed by mid-October when the NATO Summit Latvia Task Force receives the remainder of the 4,500 pairs of mittens coming from the Vidzeme, Zemgale, Latgale and Kurzeme regions of Latvia.
For further information on The Renaissance of Latvia's ethnographic mittens, please visit the Official website http://www.rigasummit.lv// and click on “Interesting”.