As part of the Latvian Jāņi (Summer Solstice) tradition, women and girls wear vainags (crown of flowers). My first couple of Jāņi celebrations, I fumbled my way through vainags preparations. Then, I landed at the mothership, Rīgā for Jāņi.
Driving back roads to country homes, it is perfectly acceptable to pull over and tromp through fields in search of “the” flowers. “The” being nature’s bounty, wild. Next the task is to weave and fasten the crown using stems, leaves, and more “nature” parts. I learned from the Obi Wan of vainags, locals…in a roadside bar.
This year I painstakingly picked flowers from around our home. Upon arriving at vecmamminas (grandmother’s), the husband and daughter added some additional floral pieces from the generational plot. Thirty minutes later and this…
Yes, my daughter wore it with pride until…she noticed a masterpiece. A crown so tightly woven that the flowers hugged the head like a floral halo. Never mind that the flowers were store bought or held together with artificial pieces, she wanted that vainags. The golden Jāņi crown. Gone was my mommy pride, leaving behind only two green thumbs and thorn punctures. The vainags tossed aside with her dinner plate.
Oh Jāni, give me another chance. I will avenge the 2014 vainags!