Festival and carnival „Earl of May 2015″

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Who will be the “Earl of May“?

Let’s figure it out together at the festival and carnival „Earl of May 2015″ on 16 May at Spikeri Quarter.  This event is the only medieval festival and carnival in Riga, based on one of the oldest cultural traditions of Riga – public holiday “Earl of May”. This event is dedicated to the coming of spring and the election of Riga’s best defender due to a tournament. 500 years ago, such as today, this is a holiday for the whole family, with entertainment, music and of course irons knights and beautiful ladies!

Maija Grafa festivals karnevals Spikeros

Every man will have the opportunity to win this prestigious title at the unique tournament “Earl of May”.

“Compete for the title of Earl of May can any male, who is ready to prove his bravery, skill and courage. You will have the opportunity to take part in a competition for real men – and the winner will be known as the best defender of Riga, as 500 years ago” says one of the organizers of the festival, the chairman of the Cultural Society “Alternatīvā realitāte” Irina Kurpnietse.

According to ancient tradition, the victorious one will have the right to choose his queen of hearts from among all the women of the city and call her “Countess of May”. This pair is going to be a symbol of the holiday for the whole year – until the next festival.

“Join this festival with the whole family! Let’s support together these wonderful old traditions and preserve this unique Riga holiday! And at the end of the festival you will be able to continue your cultural program in the Night of Museums. It’s not in vain that this is happening all in one day” says Irina Kurpnietse.

You will meet medieval knights, princesses, citizens, and even … real witches. Moreover the organizers have prepared a surprise which is still secret.


Festival program:

  • Knightly tournament and archery tournament
  • Winner selection – “Earl of May”
  • Theater performance on the medieval theme with authentic historical facts of the history of Riga
  • Competition for the best styled medieval costume
  • Medieval attractions and entertainment for both adults and children
  • Creative workshops
  • Crafts market
  • Insight into daily life of the medieval, revealing secrets of the medieval city


The festival “Earl of May” was celebrated for the first time in Latvia 500 years ago. In Europe this holyday has a long tradition and symbolizes spring as well as fertility. In the 15th century the “House of Blackheads” in Riga initiated the celebration of this holiday, when the “Earl of May” in the presence of City Council won the tournament. The title was already then awarded for a year and during this time the “Earl of May” has always been one of the brothers of the Great Guild.