Skip to content Skip to left sidebar Skip to footer


Since time immemorial, the biggest holidays in the Land of Suiti have been associated with church patrons. As a larger market was usually held on these days, bishops or other important church official came for visitations, which added more importance to the services. In Alsunga, the patron saint of the church has been the holy archangel Michael for several centuries. Therefore, the biggest holiday of the year is celebrated on Michael’s Day, September 29, or, lately, on the weekend closest to it.

Since there is a Catholic church of St. John in Gudeniekos, the main church holiday falls on June 24. It is a little different in Jūrkalne, where there is the Catholic church of St. Joseph. And the holiday should be celebrated on Joseph’s Day, which is March 19. However, since this date may fall during Lent, when the celebration of major holidays is not supported by Catholics, it has been decided to celebrate the holiday on the day of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, which falls on August 15. In Jūrkalne, this day is called Day of Herbs. Because on this day, at the end of the service, the bouquets of herbs brought to the church were blessed.

The scale of the festivities has, of course, always depended on available funding, people’s entrepreneurship and the interest of the local government. A more ambitious celebration of St. Michael’s Day in Alsunga began with the establishment of its own Alsunga district municipality in 2009. Time will tell what the further development of this holiday will be in the future.

Drone singing festival

Another event, which has been focused on Suiti folklore and once every four years gathers many people in Suiti region, is the international Drone singing (Burdona) festival. The traditional eeeeeeeeōōōō singing of the Suiti women, that we are used to, is called drone singing in scientific terminology. Drone singing is one of the oldest forms of polyphony in traditional music (both vocal and instrumental). It has been rooted in the culture of the pre-Christian period and can still be found today in the form of a living tradition in the Baltics, the Balkans, the Carpathians, Georgia and the Iberian Peninsula. There are still some regions in Latvia, a kind of anclaves, where drone singing traditions have never stopped. They are found in the Land of Suiti (Alsunga, Gudenieki, Jūrkalne), as well as in Bārta, Nīca, and in some places in Latgale.

Drone singing festivals are organized by the Foundation Ethnic Culture Center Suiti. The first festival took place in 2004, the second in 2007, the third in 2010, the fourth in 2014, and the fifth in 2017, and so on.

The international Drone singing festival is a good way to revive folk traditions, inherited from generation to generation, as an inherited value in the modern rural cultural environment and popularize it in the wider society in Latvia and beyond its borders. In the future, it could apply for CIOFF status for this festival (international organization of festivals of traditional culture under UNESCO). This would mean even more prestige and recognition for this festival. Until now, only the international folklore festival Baltica has such a status in Latvia.