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Mittens are a very important part of several Latvian traditions. Probably the most popular tradition where Latvians use a lot of ethnographic mittens are weddings.
An ancient Latvian wedding tradition says that unmarried girls have to fill up their hope chests before entering the marriage. It’s an old tradition, that was respected by their mothers and grandmothers, so from early childhood girls were taught to knit, embroider, crochet and sew to be able to fulfill their chests with knits and other handicrafts. Knitted mittens were one of the most important things of the chest and also an indicator of girl’s skills. They represented patience and imagination, because every mitten had to be knitted in a different design using different patterns, otherwise the brides were laughed at. The most lavish chests contained several hundred pairs of hand-knitted mittens. This could not have been done if not the rich and diverse Latvian ethnographic culture. Each pair of mittens has its own story, his own unique pattern and what is most important – each pair of mittens holds his own meaning and comes with it its own wish.
As these mittens were given as a gifts, every girl was trying to do their best and was competing among themselves to create as many as possible creative patterns, color compositions and shades.