One of the oldest 
Riga medieval culture traditions
Official first announsement: Chronicles of Riga 1477



The Fest of the Count of May has been known since pre-Christian Celtic culture and was celebrated in the Middle Ages in Bohemia and southern Germany, where the King of May was elected, and in Italy, where it was held under the auspices of the election of the King of the Forest. It came to Latvia in the Middle Ages from Scandinavia, Germany, Gotland and England, where this holiday has long been celebrated as the Holiday of Spring and Fertility.

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.

Today the festival supports cultural diversity, solidarity and harmonious interaction of different eras, cultures and people, while emphasizing the development of Latvian culture against the backdrop of the development of cultural traditions of the European region.

Today, the Count of May Day is developing and growing together with our beloved Riga.
This is a bright Riga spring carnival, in which all eras of the life of the city, nation and culture are mixed, because Riga is a Hanseatic city that has always welcomed a wide variety of people.
Colorful costumes of participants, jousting tournaments for adults and children, wed
century-old attractions and games, a medieval fair, a fire festival, clowns and pantomime, stilts and a theater, a bright concert program on stage throughout the day, a costume contest and, of course, the main element of the medieval tradition of the May Count holiday has been preserved:

The winner of the May Count tournament will become the main character of the holiday - the best warrior of Riga - Count of May,
and call his chosen one the Countess of May.
This couple symbolizes spring, love and valor,
and is a symbol of the holiday throughout the year, until the new tournament.

Today, absolutely all visitors of the holiday over 18 years old can apply for the title of the May Count and his chosen one. The main condition is the presence of a costume .... and, of course, victory in the tournament! Ladies can support their candidates for the title of Count of May, and get a chance to become a Countess of May!