Ancestor (Velis) Picture

It is a common belief across many nations that autumn is a time of reflection. When all the crops have been gathered, everything is withering and days grow shorter no wonder people got quite gloomy and thought a lot about death. This is the season of ghosts and spirits who apparently grow bored and rise from the graves - mostly it is viewed as something negative - so most nations like Celts for example used make horrifying masks to scare the dead back where they belong, but not Latvians.

According to ancient Latvians - people after death remain in the ground - both body and spirit - they live in the Underwold. And from there they have quite an influence on stuff that goes on above them especially on everything that grows from earth. So after the harvest it is only appropriate to thank them. The timing is also good because ancestors grow anxious to know how are their living relatives doing so they rise from the ground and come to visit. Instead of running and shouting and scaring them away with masks, Latvians were glad and even put out food for them - if they found out the next morning that the food had been touched - it was a sign of blessing.

This may sound strange to most, since rising dead are usually seen as a great evil but c'mon - the dead ones are our own kin - why be afraid of your dead grandpa? Tim Burton had a very nice take on this in Corpse Bride
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