Last year’s grass burning in Latvia

An old tradition of burning last year’s grass is still quite relevant over here in Latvia.

waterfall kuldiga
Shouldn’t be a problem for a “real” Latvian to set this one on fire

We have a word for last year’s grass. Yes we do. It’s “kūla” and it’s not cool at all, well at least according to Latvians who’re trying to burn fields of it each spring. An old tradition that is banned by the law, but still is widespread across Latvia and causes a lot of trouble for the firemen and the burners themselves.

So what’s up with all this madness and why did people start to burn kūla in the first place?

Well the most obvious reason is the urge to get rid of kūla itself, to give way for the new grass, but with time and environmentalist’s effort burning last year’s grass became harder to justify and kūla burning advocacy grew to new levels, meaning, people started to state all the good that comes with burning down a field or two. To be honest, there is no money in burning the last year’s grass and above all – it’s frickin’ dangerous.

Every year couple of houses and other buildings are burned down, there are causalities and ground cover with thousands of it’s little inhabitants is destroyed in vast territories  but none of that can stop the persistent Latvians who were too lazy to mow down the grass before winter. Hell, some even say that a real Latvian will be able to set a field on fire even if it’s flooded.

So bear that in mind and don’t be surprised to see some burned down fields in springtime when you visit Latvian countryside. Even if the field is under water.