Swing. You’re in Latvia.

After spending two days on the road, battling the Latvian mosquito population, I’ve spent the last five days admitting defeat. I’ve been scratching my ankles, I’ve been scratching my chin, I’ve been scratching pretty much everywhere in between, including a particularly fetching little hillock on my arse.

Having spent the best part of a week asking pitifully whining ‘Why me?’, I’ve finally stopped itching enough to figure out the answer. A few months ago, my students told me Latvians believe that if you swing at Easter, it helps ward off mosquitoes during the summer. Well, let me tell you, my eyebrows shot up, my heartbeat quickened – finally, a Latvian tradition I could get on board with.


Clearly, in my excitement, I had forgotten which country I live in. This is Latvia, remember, land of dashed hopes. And this time wouldn’t be any different. Of course, they were talking about this kind of swinging…

Swinging - Latvian style

Swinging – Latvian style

And so, disappointed yet again, I pooh-poohed the tradition, scoffed in the face of swinging. But now, 4 zillion mosquito bites later, I’m not so sure.

Maybe there is something to this swinging lark after all? Perhaps a few splinters in the arse at Easter is preferable to scratching it for 3 months during the summer? And so, my dear Latvians, next Easter please be gentle with me, for I will be…the newest swinger in town.

About BerLinda

Adjusting to life in Germany, after living in Latvia for four years. Should be easy, right?
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35 Responses to Swing. You’re in Latvia.

  1. Evona says:

    how is the weather over there now? do i need any coat for summer nights, or stocking under the skirt? πŸ™‚ (almost) all packed, here i come Riga! :)))

    • Expat Eye says:

      Hurrah! The weather is pretty good but a bit showery at the moment. Should be hotter by the end of the week. I don’t think tights are necessary but you might want to bring a cardigan or light jacket for the evenings alright! And an umbrella just in case! Happy packing!

  2. Anita says:

    Hmm, and how about the copyrights with my picture? Can’t remember agreeing to show it there…

  3. We live in the deep south in the US, where mosquitos fly in squadrons, and have bloody marys for happy hour. I’ve never tried swinging, but if you want to try some good old petrochems that work, it’s all about repellents with DEET. It doesn’t always smell great, but mozzies hate it. ~James

  4. gina4star says:

    My my, they definitely have some interesting theories/traditions in Latvia! πŸ™‚

  5. for a brief moment just after reading the title of this entry I’ve thought you’ve discovered and joined some dancing classes and got all exited, only to learn soon after that your interpretation was way more exiting πŸ˜€ Not sure if Latvian version of swinging is of any help against ’em mosquito, but am sure willing to try anything by now. Though I’m local and should have this thick and mosquito proof hide, for some reason am not, and with every year passing my skin seemingly gets thinner and thinner and their bites get more itchy and painful. Since just a few years ago all those bites were indeed just like nothing, I’ve developed this conspiracy theory, that companies producing bug-repellents had experimented with all those nasty mosquito, and in result they’ve become more evil, and what is even worse these uber-mosquito managed to escape lab facilities and are now taking over those tame-like old sort of biters, and that’s why it hurts so much these days. On the other hand, these uber-mosquito are like nothing if compared to ants – you just get a nasty itch for half of the week, while recently I’ve developed such a nasty allergy to ant bites, that every time I get bit by them the bitten part swells so much, you’d think it’s something much worse than just a simple bite 😦

    • Expat Eye says:

      This made me laugh! You’ve obviously put a lot of thought into this conspiracy theory! I definitely agree that the little critters are much more vicious than they used to be!

      • well, since instead of a mild itch for an hour or two I now get a week long itchy sore there’s plenty of time to dwell on conspiracies while you scratch or try not to scratch when things get out of control πŸ˜‰

      • Expat Eye says:

        Thankfully mine have just about disappeared now – until the next time at least!!

  6. Rajiv says:

    “Swing” in summer and keep mosquitoes away?? This is the silliest “tradition” I’ve every heard of!

    Wonder what other manifestations this tradition could have? Swing in Winters and Cure cancer. Swing in Autumn and cure homosexuality. Swing in Spring and go to Outer Space….. there’s no end to this kind of swinging.

    But here’s something weird but True (I think I saw it on BBC). Sometime ago I heard of a FM radio station in the US that broadcasts certain high frequency signals along with music that are inaudible to human ear but extremely distressing to mosquotoes.

    Which means while you got that radio playing music–even outdoors–mosquitoes will stay away!

  7. Ansh says:

    Pfff.. Any normal latvian has skin thick enough not to care about what westerners think about us and even mosquitos. For you, thin-skinned fragile civilized people we have this: http://www.webaptieka.lv/lv/product/psilo-balsam-1-gels-20g-gels-arigai-lietosanai-niezes-apgegumu-un-apsartuma-mazinasanai

  8. 1WriteWay says:

    How funny! I hadn’t seen this post before I left a comment complaining about mosquitoes on your other post! I’m a married lady so your first definition of “swinging” wouldn’t have helped me. Pity you 😦 Mosquitoes are horrible things and they leave big, itchy welts on me too. Where I live, they are practically year-round. Hard freezes just slow them down (although at least then I can kill them before they get me). I’ve heard some say that putting a bit of bleach on the bite can ease the itch a bit, but I can’t stand the smell. I am absolutely no fun to be around when I’m bitten up. My heart goes out to you πŸ™‚

    • Expat Eye says:

      They’ve pretty much gone down now! Apart from the swinging (which the Dutchman has forbidden me from πŸ˜‰ ) Latvians also suggest rubbing a lemon on yourself – haven’t tried that one yet!

    • Aggie says:

      tee tree oil is best for easing the itch… and natural too… free from parabens, no artificial colours and other bad stuff…

  9. I love swinging… but I can’t fit onto any of the swing sets 😦 Less cake, maybe…

  10. Aggie says:

    I hope you miss Irish midges πŸ˜€ Sometimes I can`t figure out: witch one is worst πŸ˜€

    • Expat Eye says:

      I don’t really remember mosquitoes in Ireland that much! I think it’s usually too cold for them! But then, I’ve been away for a long time!

  11. rjschutte says:

    I love a good swing once in a while πŸ˜‰

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