Day 21 of 24 Days of a Baltic Christmas is by my little sis, Z. Expert fashionista and working in the retail industry, she reports that this is indeed a very Baltic Christmas…
It seems that this design is everywhere you turn this season... If you’ve ever seen this symbol and thought “oh, what a beautiful snowflake,” you have underestimated the power and significance of the Auseklis.
Auseklis was an ancient Pagan diety representing new life. He was a son of God, as well as the groom of Saules Meita, or the Sun's daughter.
The term auseklis is derived from the Germanic aus ('east') and the Latin oriens ('orient'); and the Latvian: sēkla - ('seed', 'semen'). For this reason, it has been identified as the morning, or rising, star. The auseklis symbolizes the victory of light over darkness; it is a symbol of hope. It is considered one of the most powerful symbols against evil spirits because it must be drawn in a single continuous line. The symbol was also adopted as the emblem of the third Latvian National Awakening. It was used as a summons to the Latvian nation: to never forget their roots, their nation’s history, their rich culture and folklore.
In the past couple of years, this symbol has become more and more popular in the fashion industry. It is used in a pattern most commonly known as “Fair Isle.” It is named after a little island lying midway between the Orkney and Shetland Islands to the north of Scotland in the UK, at the point where the Atlantic Ocean meets the North Sea. It is not known exactly how this pattern originated. Most likely a passing ship from the Baltic nations traded a piece of patterned knitting in return for fresh food and water, which was a very common occurrence in the Viking era. The islanders then adopted this symbol and created their own unique pattern from it.
So the next time you see this symbol on a piece of clothing, or on a blanket, or a tablecloth, or fake nails (!), keep in mind that it’s more than just a beautiful snowflake!
Thanks Zinta! I love seeing the auseklīši everywhere; it really is a great marketing technique and a trend I hope continues. Tomorrow on Day 22 of 24 Days of a Baltic Christmas is June from My Food Odyssey with her recipe for Lithuanian Christmas Eve Biscuits - Kūčiukai.