Celebrations and traditions in Alūksne region
Special events are celebrated everywhere. Festivities reveal a lot not only about the region and its people – they also reveal our real dreams, and Alūksne has a lot of them. We are not shy – we speak about our dreams. Alūksne wants to inspire.
What makes our celebration traditions unique is our location at the crossroads of three nations and four seasons – let’s make the eyes and minds dizzy!
Each year in Alūksne starts with snow – we always have plenty of it: make a snowman or start a snowball fight! Every year, the cross-country skiing event gathers big and small skiers, both experienced and beginners – in Alūksne you can go skiing for the first time in your life, but at the Winter Sports Centre ‘Mežinieki’ there is a possibility to apply for a health treatment course.
Every year on the Latvian-Estonian border, on Lake Ilgājs in Veclaicene, everybody can take part in the ice fishing competition of both countries ‘Little Fish of Ilgājs’ (Latvian: ‘Ilgāja zivtiņa’, Estonian: ‘Kikkajarve kalakono’), in which the excitement of winter is combined with the strengthening of neighbourly relations.
If you have only heard about Maslenitsa, you are welcome to Pededze at the end of February – have a ride in a horse-drawn cart, party together with folk song experts and try bliny (thin pancakes or crepes).
Our winters are especially suitable for the most exciting motorsport – rally. Rally Alūksne is enticing not only to motorists from different countries, but also to their fans: the hilly terrain and winding roads in the vicinity of Alūksne provide absolutely impressive views. Dress warmly and come!
The main event of the year is the Alūksne Town Festival – we celebrate it for three days at the first weekend of August. Every year, the festival surprises even the local inhabitants: new sounds, songs, dances and events. On the festival days, the town gathers not only curious people from all over the world, but also invites all its ex-inhabitants from far and wide to return home for a special moment – the Remembrance day (Latvian: Kapusvētki). Some Malēnieši claim that the day is the reference point of the year in our region. It is a memorial event as a mark of respect for our deceased ancestors. Everyone is invited to join – the Alūksne Cemetery is the oldest and most unique in Latvia.
Lake Alūksne is not only a quiet place to relax – in the summer the traditional Water Motorsport Championship makes high waves here. It’s also exciting to watch it.
The Bānītis Festival is one of the newest and most popular traditions in Alūksne. Who doesn’t want to get into a real narrow gauge railway carriage pulled by an equally real steam locomotive? Every year in the autumn, people come from far and wide to the Bānītis’ birthday party. It is the longest celebration in Latvia – at all the railway line stations from Alūksne up to Gulbene.
Atte in the Kalncempji Parish will surprise everyone, who is convinced that mowing can be done only by tractors. At the Harvest Festival in the yard of V. Ķirps’ Museum, everyone has the opportunity to pick up a scythe or some other tools, which were well-known to our grandfathers, and not only pick them up, but also learn how to use them – every September, a fair also takes place here.