Latvian Mittens and Tradition

Handknit Latvian mittens are treasured the world around for their warmth and beautiful design work. While you may have admired a pair at an international textile sale, you might not know the rich traditions behind the mittens. Historically, the milestones in life were often marked by gifts of mittens–in fact, instead of a diamond ring, marriage proposals might happen when a woman gave a man a pair of mittens. Perhaps most interestingly, up until the mid-nineteenth century some Latvians believed in the power of “mitten throwing” wherein a young bride would leave (or throw) a pair of mittens in the shed, the granary, the barn, on the draw-well, and in other places when she entered her new home for the first time. This was said to bring good luck to the marriage.

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