In Riga, the holiday appeared in the 15th century thanks to the House of Blackheads, when the May Count - the best warrior in the presence of the city council was chosen at a tournament. The Earl of May received his title for one year, and at that time the winner was always one of the brothers of the Great Guild, where, as you know, young wealthy bachelors consisted. The May Count got the right to call his chosen one the May Countess, so the holiday often ended with an engagement.
The May Count and Countess, who symbolized spring and fertility, visited cities and towns with a large retinue, wishing everyone well-being and a successful year. In honor of this event, the inhabitants of Riga arranged a holiday, with dancing and refreshments. This holiday is a symbol of spring, love and valor. It united people of various classes and nations.
544 years ago, in 1477, an agreement was concluded between the Brotherhood of the Blackheads and the Great Guild that brothers of the Great Guild could fight for the title of Earl of May. We consider this date as the date of the official start of the tradition of the Count of May in Riga.
Over time, this tradition has been revived, then faded. in the 19th century, residents of Riga celebrated it mainly in families.
In Soviet times, the tradition was forgotten.
The tradition of the Count of May was revived in Riga by the House of the Blackheads, which held it from 2000 to 2010 together with JSC Rigas Nami and the Riga City Council.
Since 2011, the organization of the holiday was taken over by the public organization "Cultural Society "Alternative Reality", which combined the old Riga tradition with modern trends in multicultural holidays.