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Riga's main Christmas trees to be lit today; Christmas markets open

Photo: Miks Lusis/LETA.
 RIGA, Dec 2 (LETA) - Riga's main Christmas trees will be lit on Sunday, and the city's annual Christmas markets will also begin work, LETA was informed by the Riga City Council.

In contrast to previous years, three main Christmas trees (instead of two) will be set up in Riga this year.

As usual, one of them will be on the Dome Square. Another one will be put up on the Daugava Embankment, near Akmens Bridge. The third one will be decorated and installed in the courtyard of Children's Clinical Hospital, a gift from the "Sunny Days" charity drive. The goal of the drive was to reconstruct the first floor of the hospital's historic wing in accordance with the needs of hematology/oncology patients, so that they would not have to go to another building for treatment. The Riga City Council also participated in the drive this year.

From today until January 13, Christmas markets will begin work in Old Town Riga's Dome and Livu Squares, as well as in Esplanade Square.

The markets will be open every day from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

The tempting smell of mulled wine and toasted almonds, shiny gingerbread cookies and items made by local craftsmen – the opening of Old Town’s Christmas market is one of the surest signs that Christmas is right around the corner.

Special events and concerts will be organized at the markets every day, with Santa Claus also popping by every once in a while to greet the children.
Persons visiting the markets will be able to try and purchase a wide variety of traditional Latvian Christmas goodies, as well as hot mulled wine, coffee and tea to warm up. The markets are also excellent places to purchase presents for loved ones made by local craftsmen, either it be a pair of knitted mittens, or a wooden candlestick, there is something available for all tastes.

Many other popular items on sale at the markets include locally produced honey, traditional wool and knitwear, wooden toys, as well as items made of silver and amber.
Visitors will be able to get acquainted with various Latvian Christmas traditions at the markets, as well as taste traditional Christmas meals. On the other hand, people will be able to sing along to well-known Christmas melodies during the various concerts taking place throughout the day. Local folklore groups will also perform.

There will be activities and workshops also available for the little ones, including pony rides, a small petting zoo, as well as a Christmas post office for sending letters to Santa. Of course, Santa himself will make appearances at the market several times a day.
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