josta avaThis hand-woven belt is very symbolic and sacred in Latvia. From just a regional item of clothing, it turned into Latvian national symbol, and now its patterns occur on Latvian souvenirs, ceramics, T-shirts, mitts, hats, and even tattoos. There are 74 known variations of josta belt, all of them studied and preserved in Latvian National History Museum. But the most unusual and curious thing about this sash is that when Latvians pick one to buy, they close their eyes, move a hand over belts with different patterns, and try to feel the right josta (they say they know it by the feeling of warmth).

Latvian2 avaIn most countries around the world, the traditional outerwear was rather usual – jackets, coats, cloaks, etc. But Latvia is rather special, its authentic women’s outer garment is a beautiful white shawl fastened with a large silver brooch. Sounds cool, doesn’t it? These traditional Latvian shawls kept local women warm and beautified them at the same time. Moreover, you could find out the region of origin of a person just looking at the size of a shawl, its embellishments, and the design of a brooch.

Latvian avaLatvian traditional costume is charming, modest, and sophisticated. Female outfits are delicate, very feminine, and have a lot of simple but very fine decorations; while male costumes are polished and noble-looking (Latvian men dressed in full sets of folk clothes make you think of landlords and noble gentlemen). The very first thing you notice in a women’s traditional costume of Latvia is a shawl and an extraordinary headdress, in men’s – a coat and a hat.