Iva Gailitis, Andra Simanova, Daiga Gargurne, Daiga Yamonte, Diana Meiers, Evita Weinberg, Ineta Sumskiha, Ivo Traide, Lienite Iesalniece, Maya Pohodneva, Mary Calve, Mary Traide, Zaiga Caire
Knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe
Collection and use of mushrooms (2023)
Mushrooms traditionally include harvesting wild mushrooms, which usually take place in the forest, as well as further processing and preparing harvested mushrooms for immediate use or storage for winter supplies.
Latvia as a whole (including diaspora outside Latvia)
Mushroom traditions are maintained and passed on by Latvian mushroom families themselves; through them the tradition is inherited from one generation to the next – children together with adults get to know, collect and learn to use mushrooms. This inherits not only mushroom skills but also other related knowledge – mushroom names, beliefs and rituals used in the area, recipes for food, medical, household and craft use.
Mushroom traditions are maintained today by residents of both rural and urban areas of Latvia. Groups of members are gaining an increasing role in maintaining the mushroom tradition. The role of mushrooms in the Community today is linked to learning new knowledge and the need for contact with nature, contributing to mental wellbeing. Mushroom-watching movement develops (by analogy with bird-watching).
The most important group of such members is the “Latvian mycologists society” founded in 2003, which brings together scientists, mushroom experts and enthusiasts with the aim of promoting mushroom research. Over time, by collecting news about the collection and use of mushrooms, the society has become a major distributor of traditional knowledge, bringing together 120 members. Of these, more than 40 actively participate in events organised by scientists – mycologists –, activities and exhibitions related to mushrooms tradition, and organise cognitive events and hikes. During mushrooms, mushrooms from all over Latvia turn to the most knowledgeable mycologists of Latvia – Inita Danielle and Diana Meiers (both work at the national Museum of nature of Latvia and are active in the Latvian mycologists society) in order to learn the name of a particular mushroom found by this Seaner and to find out whether it is edible. Its knowledge of mushrooms may be acquired by those in whose families the tradition has already disappeared, and also by the Latvian diaspora abroad, where the preservation of traditions specific to the ethnic Community plays an important role in maintaining the national identity. The society of mycologists, in collaboration with the Museum of nature, is hosting “mushroom days in counties” for the first time this year. There have already been six events this year, led by the most active and knowledgeable members, mushroom enthusiasts - League Jeka (Ziras), Livija Sprogge, Andris Maisina (Vainode), Inge Freimanis, Sandra Mikelson (Ranka, New Jaungulbene), Andra Korniev (Geelong), Zaiga Caire (Dobele), Ivo and Mara Traides and several others. It is planned to continue this plan, as the association also has other know-how who can share mushroom skills, helping mushrooms to do so safely.
A notable specialist is Edgars Mookins, who not only actively mushrooms himself, but also creates Latvia's best mushroom site in senes.lv, where he indicates useful information regarding the consumption of mushrooms.
Importance in Community Life
The tradition of mushrooms has long been known, and its inheritance and transmission have traditionally taken place within the family and family. It has a Community-building role: in a multicultural society of Latvia, mushroom tradition is a characteristic element of lifestyle for people of different nationalities. Often, each family or family has its own collection fungi, fungi, family recipes, legacy tools (e.g. “mushroom knife”). For many rural residents, reading and selling mushrooms remains an important source of income. These days, as tradition changes, the use of mushrooms is increasingly expanding.
In the past and today, the main use of mushrooms is to prepare and eat mushrooms – in the past they have been a significant part of the diet. For example, mushrooms fried in pig fat in the 19 th century have been typical dishes for rural residents. For winter, mushrooms have been stored by acidification, salting, drying, roasting in fat or butter. Mushroom dishes today - mushroom sauce, baravika carb, pickled and salted mushrooms, etc. - remain an essential part of the culinary heritage.
Mushrooms have also been used for household and medical purposes (e.g. infusions, tinctures, jams, flowers). The most notorious of these are lowestauks (the infusions of lowestaux are still popular), red muesmire (ready-to-eat ointment) and Chaga (for medicinal tea). Red muesmiris (with sugar and milk) are traditionally used to poison flies.
The collection of Latvian people's beliefs on the use of Musmiris compiled by Peter Schmidt contains the following entries.
21339. Muesmiras are stuffed into a bottle and put in the oven. Smeared the diseased limbs with the melted liquid./N.O. Groston. /
21340. Muesmiras should be stuffed in a bottle, blown up and alcohol poured over. This medicine is used against hand tingling and against rheumatism in general./Etna. IV, 1894, Aulaukaln. /
21341. Mushmiris are put in alcohol and smeared where there is bone pain./P. F. from P. Smelteŗa, beautiful. /
21342. If someone has eaten muesmiris, they must lie down in cannabis or they will be blind.
/K. B. Baldone. /
Grease the mules with creme, bake on a pan or saute them on the coals, then ours eats them and runs out./P. S. Etna. IV, 1894, Odziena. /
Muesmiris shall not be taken with a bald hand, then flies shall not die./A. Meirans. /
The backs have been used to soak the hinges of the door, the puff of the pole for the preparation of the used liner, the pod.
There have been reports that the animals have sometimes been fed mushrooms - butter bacon, cow bacon, barley and other mushrooms have been fed to cows, while the mushrooms have been fed to the animals for drinking.
Today, mushroom tradition inspires artists, craftsmen from different fields. For example, the play “mushroom Championship” staged by Dirty deal Teatro, I.Ruben's “old Beck scare stories,” M.Zelite's “Tango and Tutina in mushrooms Tervete” wooden characters -- mushrooms at Turvette nature Park), tourism specialists (hiking in nature with mushroom dating, collecting). Mushrooms are mentioned and their characters are used in Latvian literature and periodicals. Cartoonist Gata Schake has created a series of cartoons on the mushroom theme, reflecting both traditional customs (secret mushroom sites) and contemporary highlights (exploring and photographing mushrooms for social networks alongside gathering for eating). As well as popular children's songs about mushrooms and mushrooms, there are several songs from the pop genre that mention mushrooms (beard's “mushroom song,” Catherine Gupalo's “toxic mushrooms,” the band's “First course” song “problems”).
Children have been taught the good and evil concept from an early age, using easily recognisable poisonous (mushmire) and edible (baravika, rooster) mushrooms. Up to today, mushrooms have been used as symbols in both kindergartens (marking cabinets) and children's books. More than one generation grew up with Margarita Staraste-Bordevika's illustrated grammar. The mushroom is first a close and understandable fairy tale image for Latvian children, and only afterwards - a food product, as well as entertainment - a walk in the forest.
Mushrooms begin with preparation - the choice of appropriate clothing and equipment. The mushroom usually has its own bowl for mushrooms, a basket or bucket, a special “mushroom knife” used mostly exclusively for this purpose. Nowadays, if the mushroom yield is higher, the cartons in the machine are not smelled either, less often different bags, but especially in the case of large or unexpected mushroom harvests, even some garment that is applied to the pressing situation. As the forest goes, special clothing (a headpiece, a long-sleeved gown to keep mosquitoes, dwarfs and mites out) and footwear, most often rubber boots, are also pulled to ensure that you can avoid getting into a wetter area and unwanted contact with forest dwellers, especially snakes, when mushrooming.
Sometimes a ritual is performed before mushrooms to ensure good mushroom yield, such as saying certain words, holding a knife behind your back, spitting on the first mushroom, leaving the most beautiful mushroom in the woods, etc.
Mushrooms take place in forests, also in parks, shrubs, farmlands, pastures – Latvia's characteristic natural and cultural landscape starting in spring months, however, the best “mushroom time” is in late summer and autumn. During this time, mushrooms collect mushrooms by visiting their favorite mushroom sites first. Mushrooms tend to occur alone or in small, more common families, groups (there is a belief that your mushroom sites should not be shown to others). One of the controversial issues on which it is difficult for mushrooms to agree – whether the mushroom should be cut with a knife or “screwed out” from the ground, the Latvian press also reads arguments about it a hundred years ago. The same is true with the question of whether mushrooms with “worms” (larvae) can and should be read.
Depending on the region, what is learned in the family or what is learned elsewhere, a larger or smaller number of mushroom species are collected. Most mushrooms consider baravic to be the most valuable mushroom, but roosters, aspen bacon, birch bacon, birch laps and millins are also popular mushrooms.
Mushrooms are traditionally most commonly used in food, less often in grassroots treatments/healing (e.g., earthworms, birch blacktip - marc) and other areas. Sauces, soups are made from mushrooms; mushrooms are baked (in the pan, on coal), dried, salted, acidic, pickled, also frozen in recent decades.
in the 1925 edition of “the farmer,” the mushroom is described as follows: “a midwife went to mushrooms with children everyday if there was nothing particularly urgent. The shepherd girl, who had the ganibas along the edge of the woods, took the basket and almost alone provided mushrooms to eat at once. But when rainy days came and the country work could not be done, everyone went to the mushrooms, including the master himself. All the older clothes came on so that when they got wet they could strip off and wear dry instead of the folded ones. Mushrooms were not broken with roots, but cut off and didn't carry them in a worm house. Lassie only the familiar mushrooms: roosters, pecs, barwikas, birch laps, cranes, deer, alkanes, villas, sweet, redflesh, raspberries and oats. It was nothing to fear fatal and uneatable. They were all used to mushrooms, and children knew them too. When they got home, they all read the mushrooms together, leaving too many soft pecks, worms, and unknowns. The woman's mushrooms were then cleaned and washed. Only then did the mushrooms come to the landlady's orchard; she selected the sweets and growls she cared about. They were put in cold water and boiled, then descended and put in a log of cold water until the other day. Then the satin crumbled and unmucked, poured into the heavy liquid canvas in Coulais, and toughened it between two planks with large stones. The soft mushrooms, pecs and barvices, didn't boil, but just shabby with hot water. Later, all the mushrooms were put together. A very eggy snack for everyone was when the virinata and pressed barvices and the latest pecks were baked in a pan, the horizons coiled in eggs and fine flour, with salt and pepper, like fresh fish.
Mushrooms destined for winter left a couple of days under the burden. Then he put the bucket on a log, pole by pole, sprinkled salt, covered it with naughty clothes, placed a lid and a stone over it. The next wicket was put on top of the first while the bowl was full. It was then abandoned all autumn, in the garden under an apple tree and only as the island began, placed in the room.
The most frequent mushroom boil, with a tiny cut and bold pork fried in onions, adding toast with milk to hay cream and happy to eat at the potatoes. Instead of meat, leftovers from fat melting, “ticks” or “teabags” were also used. CEPA mushrooms, too, with fat and a bit of butter. Once a salad was made from salty mushrooms: soaked in warm water for a few hours, squeezed; cut into tiny pieces and poured a twisted and chilled vinegar with spices and onions into a bowl. If there were a lot of barvices for a year, then they were prepared that way. The white hard sweets were also delicious.
In so doing, every farm where mushroom forests can be reached could, I think, provide mushrooms for winter, so that not only in summer and autumn, but also in winter, you can make a delicious “maltiti”. "(Farmer, No. 35 (02.09.1925), periodika.lv)
Beliefs, Rituals, Unwritten Rules
A wealth of beliefs have been recorded in connection with mushrooms. Below are examples from the collection “beliefs of the Latvian people” compiled by Peter Schmidt.
Beliefs in mushroom growth
26721. The backs don't grow until the rye has been felled.
26722. Mushrooms and backs grow overnight, but once a person has seen them, they no longer grow larger./P. M., rauna. /
26723. If the mushrooms sprouted in an old month, they worship, if young, then not./J. Ousins, Serene. /
26724. In the old age, mushrooms are worm, clean in a new time./M. Ausina, Riga ./a)
Beliefs about luck mushrooms
26725. The cylllids go to the woods for mushrooms and sazatuop with a buob whose pylnu heats the mushrooms, then I'll get you. A that pi buobys nabyus mushroom, empty karzina, Tod I pi you byus empty, nikuo nadabuosi, koč vysu Dean rewaloosi./V. Podis, Rezekne. /
26726. As the mushrooms go, you have to put the knife behind you, then you can see all the mushrooms./A. Dragone, Palsmane. /
26727. As the mushroom enters the woods, you have to say, “Chick, Chick, Forest Mika, full skin baraviks!” Then there will be plenty of mushrooms./L. Kleinberg, Holy. /
26728. When you go mushroom, you have to spit the first mushrooms and say, “be lucky for you, pull me a fast-packed basket!” You can then quickly read the full basket. [St berries]/A. Aizsil, Lubana. /
26729. When you put the first mushroom or berry in the curry, you say, “Dievina, give me happiness!” and then quickly listen to the cursor.
26730. Once you go to the woods for mushrooms and find Pyrmou baravika Watz and a tuorpim, Todd itei puzzles that your poetic nabyus lobe, the people of Kai tuorpi will eat you now poetic. If you find a barawick young and no tuorps, Toditei puzzles that the poetic byus loops and happiness./V. Podis, Rezekne. /
26731. If baravika is placed in the basket for the first time as a mushroom, the basket is full; if you put the birch, only half./A. Salman, Balvi. /
26732. If you find the first creme as you go in the mushrooms, you're lucky.
26733. When you get the first birch leaf as you go into the mushrooms, you're unhappy.
26734. When you are mushrooming together, you should not give the other mushrooms away, for you will return your happiness with them.
26735. The mushrooms have a habit of tossing the prettiest mushroom at the exit as they walk out of the woods to make their next happy reading./K. Corbiks, Valgunde. /
Beliefs in predicting weather or harvest volume
26736. If you have a lot of mushrooms one summer, it's going to be a poor year./K. Pawasare, Muyani. P.S., Rauna. /
26737. Plenty of greasy [mushroom] nozzeimoy war./V. Pilipyonok, Asune. /
26738. With lots of mushrooms and backs, years of famine are to come./K. Jansons, Plani. /
26739. If you have a lot of mushrooms in the summer, there will be a lot of food shortages in the winter./A. Aizsil, Lubana. /
26740. With a year of mushrooms, those years will be starvation./K. Corbiks, Valgunde. /
26741. If there's a lot of mushrooms one summer, then famine in winter./A. Aizsil, Lubana. /
26742. That a lot of vysaidi mushrooms are growing in the woods, it's begging that you're honouring byus moans; that somebody is going to bosom the mushrooms on ITIM, the tys are going to find themselves a shaky vacation./V. Podis, Rezekne. /
26743. If a lot of mushrooms in the woods late in the fall, there will be weak barley yields for years to come./J. A. Jansone, Rawls. /
26744. If there is a lot of mushrooms in the autumn, poor crop yields are expected next year./H. Lyme, Druviena. /
26745. If there is a lot of mushrooms in the forest in the autumn, there will be bad cereals next year./P. M., Druviena. /
26746. If lots of mushrooms, there will be little bread next year./K. Russ, Calnamuiès. /
26747. Mushrooms don't grow for a year, then there's a rich harvest./P. Zeltina, Riga. /
(If lots of mushrooms, there will be little bread next year.).
Beliefs about mushrooms in dreams
26748. If you break mushrooms through the dream, you'll have to go to the funeral. J. Jurjans, New Jaungulbene. /
26749. If you dream of mushrooms breaking, a family will die.
26750. If the mushrooms are to be read in dreams, then someone dies./L. Ozola, Riga. /
26751. If mushrooms break in a dream, then someone dies.
26752. If you dream of mushrooms, there will be a dead man.
26753. If Becca reads in a dream, then someone dies, or time changes./M. Stupele, Riga. /
26754. If you dream of mushrooms, you'll be dealing with the dead.
Nowadays, one of the most common habits is the non-detection of their mushroom sites in “foreign” people, as well as various methods for detecting fungal venomity (or, on the contrary, good quality). For example, if a mushroom has a ring, a bump, a bitter taste, then it's poisonous. If a tossed onion changes colour when boiling a mushroom or a silver spoon of dip in black, then the mushroom is poisonous.
Inheritance and Transfer
In the past, mushrooms for food have been practised in every family and inherited from generation to generation. There are still families where children from a young age go to mushroom with their parents or grandparents and pass on knowledge as they grow up.
As society's lifestyles urbanize and globalize, mushroom gathering has become a major hobby. The ways of transferring knowledge have changed, knowledge is often obtained from peers, interest groups (Facebook group “mycologists society and friends”, “mushroom hunters”, “mushroom farmers of Latvia”) and materials published in paper form or available on the Internet, which are particularly important for maintaining the tradition in the Latvian diaspora abroad. At present, however, young people who have not mushroomed with their parents or grandparents can often be encountered and ways should be sought to attract and engage them in this activity.
Mushrooms may have been known in Latvia at the late end of the paleolithic period, namely in the 13 th-10 th century BC, when somugra hunter-gatherer tribes entered the area after disposing of the ice blanket. Although Latvia lacks studies on the use of mushrooms, researchers have speculated that mushrooms have already formed part of the population's diet.
The word “mushroom” is derived from Somugru (Lib, Estonian) languages.
Evidence of mushrooms and the use of mushrooms in food remains in folklore materials: folk songs, beliefs, puzzles, proverbs.
The first mushroom mentions appear in sources published by Latvia in the 17 th century. Researchers point out that the word “mushroom” is included in the first Latvian dictionary – Manway's “Letta” (1638) and Langija's dictionary (1685).
Mushrooms are also mentioned in the German press published in Latvia (e.g. Rigische Anzeigen No 52, 27 December 1764). The Article gives instructions on what mushrooms should be used to avoid being confused with poisonous ones. These include roosters. in 1795, Mr. Harder's first book of chefs was published in Latvian, in which several recipes for making mushrooms are found. Mushrooms were one of the forest wastes that farmers had to deliver to the estate for fees (Garlieb Merkel, “Latinos” (1796)).
in the 19 th century studies of the mushroom tradition begin – more than 30 mushrooms, names used in their people and uses have been included in their compilation for the Latvian ethnographic exhibition (1896) by the pharmacist Ernests Birzmanis.
in the early 20 th century, professional nature researchers acquire an important role in educating society, and in 1918, Riga hosts the first mushroom exhibition. in 1934, the first book of mycology in Latvian is published – Ferdinande Erdmanis Stoll's “Latvian mushrooms”, the purpose of which is to provide more information on edible and poisonous mushrooms found in Latvia. Mushroom exhibitions were taken over from the Riga City Council Museum by the School Museum and, in the post-war years (since 1952), by the Natural History Museum of Latvia. mushroom exhibitions were hugely popular in schools in the 50 s and 60 s, according to plural posts on the site periodika.lv. Specialists at the Museum of Natural History have always been active and helped organise exhibitions and lectures for people from different regions. In the districts of Latvia, the organisation of exhibitions gradually declined, but the Museum of Natural History continues this tradition until today. Currently, due to the activities of the society of mycologists, the organisation of regular mushroom days in counties could resume. The issue of the “big Book of Latvian mushrooms” in 2020 also provided a big push for interest in mushrooms. The book provides an insight into the magnificent diversity of the Latvian fungus world and also helps mushrooms confirm existing and acquire new knowledge about the use of mushrooms in food.
Traditionally, mushrooms have been an additional source of food and revenue. Nowadays, the role of food security has diminished and tradition has become an important element of national identity, a means of communicating with nature and a source of intellectual satisfaction.
Nowadays, the concept of “mushrooms” has become much broader due to the variety of uses of mushrooms – they are used not only for food and human medicine, but also for dyeing yarns and other materials, industrial uses of mushrooms are also gaining popularity, encouraging general interest in them. Various educational activities, exhibitions in the museum, introduction of mushrooms in schools and pre-schools, mushroom camps and hikes play an important role in maintaining the tradition.
Today, an irreplaceable device for a mushroom is a mobile phone where you can track your location on the map, take photos, compare the appearance of the mushroom to the image found in the species recognition app. In this way, the ways in which tradition is transferred have changed, leaving unchanged people's desire to be in the woods, their desire to find, collect, cook valuable forest waste.
Mushrooms and mushrooms are related to the Latvian oral tradition.
First, they are the different mushroom names used in different regions. These are mentioned in various earlier editions of mushrooms, but these days their use is starting to decline as the trend to get information from much-available books, internet resources where uniform terminology is used, deepens. However, there hasn't been much more widely used folk names for mushrooms. Private docent A. Zhamelis writes that 'Latvian plant names are known to about 33 mushrooms. The following mushrooms are listed in the leaves: baravika (Boletus edulis), Peka or Beka (Boletus species, also means mushrooms in general), wool (Lactarius torminosus), crimildas (Lactarius piperatus), roses (some species of Lactarius), redfish (Lactarius deliciosus), birchplait (species of russula), mušmiŗi (Amanita muscaria), roosters (Cantharellus cibarius), pout (species of bovista globaria and lycoperdon), shoteshell (helespuri) and the spiny (? Morchella esculenta, mahogans'.
Dainty mushrooms are encouraged to rise early so the “squirrel doesn't pick mushrooms,” calls for thanks for a good crop of mushrooms.
Thank God Dievina,
This year, the backs have gone:
I went into Silina,
Let `full squirrel.
Berries, berries, mushrooms, mushrooms
Laukmalê of pale pales;
When the àzgāju tautiņâs,
Neither there berry nor there mushroom.
However, mushroom habits may have differed from modern times, such as one can understand that baravikas weren't considered the best role.
Everybody was breaking good mushrooms,
Who broke the tàs, baravikas?
Everyone took beautiful daughters,
Who will take me the unbeautiful?
Other Dinas also point out similar attitudes towards mushrooms and mushrooms.
Such have come together!
Silica bacon brooches;
No wise man,
What parunà to me.
The nurse was in a hurry,
Now she got him:
Mushrooms, bacon lozenges,
Not a bagel dovetail.
God doesn't give daughters like that,
To the landlord of one of the daughters:
Mushrooms grew on tables,
On the bankers, baraviks.
In Latvian, comparison with mushrooms is often used with a sickening meaning. For example, older people are often referred to as “old Becca,” “old pooch,” thus comparing human traits to damaged fungus. Or a more neutral “squats like Becca,” meaning still because mushrooms don't move. In a more modern version, drivers driving “too slow” are called mushrooms because people also move slowly when looking for mushrooms. Sometimes you say “what you mushroom, stop mushroom” or “well, don't mushroom already” to rush.
Puzzles about mushrooms mainly focus on their exterior appearance.
Little little men lined up with hats. Mushrooms. (https://garamantas.lv/lv/file/897611/0584-Valmiera-elementary School-vacancy-01-0043) 366
Drained on top, underneath (mushroom). (https://garamantas.lv/lv/file/1094621/0855-peteris-Birkert-08-0010) 3624
Warm edges for men all smell hats./mushrooms./(https://garamantas.lv/lv/file/1095240/0855-peteris-Birkert-14-0055) 15952
The cybees are perched on one leg. (Mushrooms) (https://garamantas.lv/lv/file/468754/1729-Tuja-elementary school-0115) 931
What non-leafy leaves don't grow at the trees, but one likes to eat. Mushrooms. (https://garamantas.lv/lv/file/1095305/0855-peteris-Birkert-15-0029) 17833
Families, communities still find mushroom practitioners and landlords who have preserved the family's culinary heritage and continue to perfect it and adapt it to contemporary requirements.
Almost all catering establishments, guesthouses serve traditional mushroom dishes – baravika soup, rooster sauce. There are guesthouses that make a much wider range of mushroom dishes - soups, pickles, fried mushrooms, introducing mushroom dishes to visitors to the farm as well. One such example is the guesthouse “lawns,” whose host, Mara Zemdega (once a Member of the show “the real Latchwoman”), treats guests with a variety of mushroom dishes, often serving meals containing some mushrooms throughout the meal. Desserts are the exception for now.
Several chefs familiar in Latvia often use mushrooms as a reflection of the local tradition. As well as cooking dishes with exotic truffles, Martin Ritina, for example, was happy to use raspberries, bear-nosed, roosters and other woodland mushrooms. One of the episodes of Cook Renars Purmal's “ready in nature” programme was dedicated to making various mushrooms. Latvian chef Eric Dreibants, on the other hand, also draws attention to seasonal mushrooms when inviting us to use our generous natural wastes: mushrooms play a big part in the seasonal menu at the Cook House in Ligatne restaurant, and there are several mushroom dishes on the menu: “Purnavu Manor bio deer stew with forest mushrooms and parsnip purée,” “Forest mushroom broth, deer meat and bio shitaki mushrooms,” “24 HR cooked ox cheek with oyster mushroom salad and baravika glacier sauce,” “salted deer meat with pickled roosters and low-salted cucumber” (autumn menu), “rooster mousse with new potato and black truffle croquette” (summer menu), “Caddicky pearified pearl carrosender carbonade,” “Salted deer meat with pickled roosters and truffle mayonnaise,” “Peele with carrot mousse and rooster glaze sauce,” and more.
Writer Maya Pohodneva has turned to compiling research on the medicinal properties of mushrooms and written a book in the Alliance against cancer (Maya Pohodneva, Modris Pelsis)
The contribution of both active practitioners and academic researchers – mycologists – is important for maintaining the mushroom tradition.
Since the second half of the 20 th century, the most important mycologist has been Dr Edgars Wimba, under whose management the mushrooms have been learned by most of the current Latvian mycologists.
Mycologists Inita Daniel and Diana Meiers are the authors of “the big mushroom Book,” providing ongoing mushroom advice, both face-to-face, on social networks, and in electronic correspondence, work and at home. The book above helps identify mushroom species for mushroom farmers who have not inherited mushroom skills in the family, as well as those seeking opportunities to restore lost knowledge of mushroom species and acquire new ones.
Enthusiasts of the Latvian society of mycologists, who in time, by collecting and accumulating information regarding the tradition of mushrooms and the intangible cultural heritage related thereto, are an important source of knowledge for different groups of members of the Council. Members have organized various events dedicated to mushroom recognition and mushroom promotion. in 2023, when the Latvian mycologists' society celebrates its 20 th anniversary, “mushroom day counties” take place, within the framework of which events have taken place in Zira, Vainode, Ranka, Sigulda, Pokainos, Jaunpiebalga, Ziguros. Organizers of these mushroom exhibitions and other activities include mushroom and mushroom enthusiasts Liga Jeka, Livija Sprogge, Ivo and Mara Traides, Ilze Vilumson, Evita Weinberg, Agne Graudulis, Inge Freimanis, Sandra Mikelson, Zaiga Caire, Audris Levickiott, Edgar Mookin and more.
Institutions and Organizations
The Latvian mycologists' society was founded in 2003 and its objectives are related to the study of mushrooms in Latvia, as well as popularisation and dissemination of knowledge about mushrooms in society, planning and implementation of various measures.
The national Museum of nature of Latvia is engaged in research and public education of Latvian nature, including mushrooms. The museum is staffed by leading Latvian mycologists who have written the “big Book of Latvian mushrooms”, which came out in 2020. The museum hosts annual mushroom exhibitions and promotes mushrooms and mushrooms at other events as well.
The Nature Conservation Agency regularly organises nature introduction events and hikes, including mushroom days in protected areas (In Schleeter, Razna and Kemeri national parks, Ligatne nature trails, and elsewhere). These events are also mostly shared with knowledge by mycologists Inita Danielle and Diana Meiers, as well as the most active members of the mycologist society such as Edgar Mookin, Eric Zach and others.
Strengthening the Tradition
The largest event dedicated to mushrooms is the annual mushroom exhibition, which takes place at the national Museum of nature of Latvia. Mushroom exhibitions and hikes are also regularly organised in protected nature territories (Nature Conservation Agency (hereinafter - DAP) in co-operation with the Latvian mycologist society), county museums, local governments.
Mushrooms and mushrooms are promoted on print and digital media, with mycologists interviewed on radio and television during the mushroom season. Several special publications have been issued on mushrooms and mushrooms, but in 2020 “the big Book of Latvian mushrooms” was released, which became the most purchased book of the year.
The Latvian society of mycologists organizes various cognitive cycles (“60 minutes of mycology” in the “Zoom” environment; lecture cycle “mushroom School” and others), as well as for members of the society – spring hikes and summer camps in different counties. in 2022, the society released a mushroom watcher calendar that will serve to get to know mushrooms (including eateries and poisonous ones) beyond the year's end. The Latvian mycologist society nominates the annual mushroom each year; the post is published in the media, promoting public engagement and knowledge acquisition, as well as allowing for additional information on the prevalence of a particular species.
Mushroom excursions, hikes, workshops and other public and private events dedicated to mushroom retrieval, harvesting, processing, use, cultivation, etc., organised by other organisations are also taking place.
There are several interest groups on social networks that bring together both mushrooms and specialists and cognitive leads, expanding the information field for each individual (for example, “Latvian mycologist society and friends”, “mushroom hunters” and others).
Mushroom championships are held in various regions of Latvia, for example, the mushroom championships of Ogre Municipality have been held for 17 years, and the mushroom championships of the night are also held elsewhere. The Gulbene municipality hosts mushroom competition “mushroom Kokar,” which includes both mushroom reading (quantity, variety, weight) and photography categories.
Not only does the interest in mushroom traditions continue to grow, but also public education in general. As the world of mushrooms becomes increasingly familiar, more people become familiar with new species of mushrooms for human consumption; the nature Observation Portal has seen a Dabasdati.lv increase in both sightings and species.
The growing public interest in mushrooms is well characterised by the increase in the number of members of the thematic groups of social networks (currently more than 60 thousand participants) and the activities of these groups. There is a growing number of media posts related to fungi and mushrooms and thus public awareness of the diversity of species to be collected and the use of mushrooms. The various interest groups also encourage research into rare species and encourage the discovery of new species.
Interest in mushrooms also enters the art of modern art installations, ceramic products, etc. in art directions. The multimedia project nature concert Hall was dedicated to the mushroom in 2020.
Regular events (regular mushroom exhibitions, family days, lessons for pupils) are organised by the national Museum of nature of Latvia.
Regional administrations of the Nature Conservation Agency (DAP), inviting mushroom acquaintances from the Latvian society of mycologists, organise mushroom cognitive hikes in protected territories (bringing in mycologists from the national Museum of nature of Latvia and the Latvian society of mycologists).
The national Museum of nature of Latvia, in cooperation with the Latvian society of mycologists, also organised a cycle of remote lectures for interested persons in 2020 “mushroom School”.
Small exhibitions or cognitive lectures on mushrooms in the regions have also been organised by municipalities, museums, libraries.
In 2023, the Latvian society of mycologists organizes “mushroom days” in counties during which the association specialists organized several exhibitions in various parishes of Latvia.
Mushroom championships are held in some counties at the initiative of local governments.
In future, it is planned to continue to operate within the competence of the national Museum of nature of Latvia by continuing the activities organised by the museum.
The Latvian mycologists' society has declined to organise the mushroom days of 2023 with its own resources, however, these funds are not sufficient for the wider development, therefore it is planned to attract additional funds for the implementation of specific projects.
The Latvian society of mycologists has developed a plan of measures for research and documentation of the mushroom tradition of Latvia, which is intended to be implemented with the participation of association members and co-operation organisations (Latvian national Museum of nature, Nature Conservation Agency, Latvian Association of nature Tourism, etc.), attracting additional carcasses for implementation of the plan:
Compilation of archival materials – folklore, periodicals, traditional ecological knowledge – has already been started and is planned. This is an important source of both tradition and research.
Collection of information regarding the mushroom tradition in social network interest groups, organised mushroom cognition events, exhibitions, hikes, which include both research material (identification of species) and documentation (video and photo material).
Surveys of people of all ages on the tradition of mushrooms, compilation and use of survey results for the preparation of publications.
Ethno-mycology expeditions/hikes documenting and using in research modern ecological knowledge of fungi, their collection and preparation;
The following measures are planned to promote mushroom recognition:
1. Exhibitions on mushroom tradition and mushrooms at the national Museum of nature of Latvia, in cooperation with other museums (2026-2027).
2. The creation of a collection of popular scientific publications revealing the various historical and contemporary aspects of mushrooms – the use of mushrooms in human medicine, the household, the associated beliefs and customs, the methods of making mushrooms, the functions related to mushrooms (for example, hampering), interviews with traditionalists;
3. Publication of a book on dyeing yarns with mushroom pigments (manuscript by mycologist Diana Meiers).
The inclusion of the mushroom tradition in the list of intangible elements of cultural heritage is an important step in preserving the element and ensuring sustainable development.
Within the framework of the activities of the association, special emphasis shall be placed on supplementing, restoring and transferring traditional knowledge, promoting the sustainability of the traditions of the element and the gentle utilisation of mushrooms resources:
The aim of the autumn mushroom exhibition in the national Museum of nature and regions of Latvia, by organising mushroom exhibitions in various regions of Latvia and involving more Community participants in the preparation and organisation thereof, is to create a greater interest in the element. The function of these stories is not only to demonstrate mushroom species and their use, but also to bring together Community members by promoting the maintenance, restoration and building of family traditions.
Organising mushrooms festival and other events by promoting mushrooms, understanding the importance of mushrooms in nature and how mushrooms' extractions can be used in our everyday lives for a wider audience.
4. Development of educational materials relating to fungi and fungi. Arranging and conducting of lecture cycle in several counties of Latvia. It is planned to continue the seminar, training cycle (including the School bag programme, the organisation of creative workshops (for the acquisition of already lost uses of mushrooms, for the creative use of mushrooms), activities in nature.
5. Cooperation with the Association of nature Tourism, allowing promotion of mushroom tradition also outside Latvia.
6. Raising of funds for education and remuneration of public mushroom consultants:
society activists, who have acquired sufficient knowledge under the guidance of mycologists, advise mushrooms during the mushroom season, helping to learn which mushroom species are to be consumed (these consultations take place in person, looking at the benefit of the Lender);
an activist group with knowledge of mushroom species and their use advises and administers mushroom interest groups on social media, promoting safe mushrooms.
7. Other measures, events and shares, including the encouragement of changes in laws and regulations, which would allow mushrooms to continue to be preserved as part of or contribute to Latvia's intangible cultural heritage.
The main objective of these measures is to transfer knowledge of the tradition of collecting and using mushrooms to future generations, creating skills to preserve the element, as well as developing a responsible attitude towards nature, its diversity and sustainability.
(a) to protect the existing tradition of mushrooms by restoring, as far as possible, its lost layer;
(b) to promote awareness and knowledge of, and recognition of, mushroom species;
(c) to strengthen human, environmental and cultural symbiosis and promote a healthy lifestyle.
Mushrooms without humans can survive, we cannot without mushrooms. Familiarising each individual and society as a whole with nature and its importance to our sustainability as a society contributes to understanding the natural element and human symbiosis, the importance of environmental diversity and protection for the balanced development of society without compromising the needs and opportunities of future generations.
The promotion of the mushroom tradition and the creation of a knowledge platform will contribute not only to the education of society but also to the development of a sense of Community and belonging.
Threats to the Tradition
Currently, mushrooms are widespread in Latvia, however, several tendencies suggest that in time it could be practiced by a smaller proportion of the population. This is mainly due to the increasing concentration of people in cities, the less chance of inheriting knowledge from parents or grandparents, including the willingness of modern people to distance themselves from the disturbances naturally occurring - insects, ticks, lately the fear of increasingly common bears in our forests, the concern about the possible contamination of fungi by various harmful substances. Also due to climate change, mushroom composition could change and perhaps several favorite mushroom species will be less common (for example, spruce baravikas might be much less common when spruce ranges are retreated). On the other hand, several sections of society, especially among the new generation, are seeing a growing number of people who want to live in accordance with natural rhythms, learn to use natural resources that encourage their interest in nature and its wastes.
In order for mushrooms to exist and develop, it is important that habitats suitable for mushrooms are kept open to the public. It is important that the current rules that berries and mushrooms may move and collect freely in public forests, while private owners may restrict access to their forests, remain.
The diversification of mushroom experiences and the diversity of mushrooms present requires forests of different ages with different tree species, with a natural forest-specific suction, including old forests.
In order to maintain the diversity of mushrooms and not reduce the volume of mushrooms, it is important to educate mushrooms about protected mushrooms species, as well as about proper, mushrooms and generally environmentally friendly mushrooms methods (for example, not to devastate the under-cover).
Latvian mycologist society, TAIL No. 40008072011
Daniel I., Meiers D. (2020). The big Book of Latvian mushrooms. Riga: Latvian Museum of nature + card publishing Jana seta
Stoll F. E. () 1934). Latvian mushrooms. Young scientist. Riga: ./S A. Walter and Rapa
Wimba E. (2015). Mushrooms are everywhere. Riga: LU academic supplies
Daniele I. (2007) mushrooms in Latvia. Small encyclopedia of Latvia. Riga: Star on ABC
Cousin M. (2008). Let's mushroom! Riga: Star on ABC
Pigeon A. (1974). A guide to mushrooms. Riga: flame
Pigeon A. (1980). Sainer's Guide. Riga: Source
Meiers D., Daniel I. (2020). Mushroom exhibitions in Latvia - once and now. Writing stock nature and Museum, No. 11. pp. 83-89 (https://www.natural musea.gov.lv/sites/default/files/2020-12/LDM_Jubilejas_editions_2020_web.pdf)
Site set “Latvian mushrooms” + “Fungi of Latvia” - descriptions of mushroom species of Latvia, materials related to mushrooms and fungi, respectively in Latvian and English
“Mushrooms” section of the natural and cultural History site “Dziedava” - mushroom species, authors compiled
Site of the Latvian mycologist society - a description of the mycologist society, members, activities, information about and around mushrooms
“Latvian fungi” section of the portal “Latvian nature” - mushrooms in Latvia, ecology, use, protection
Facebook group mycologist society & friends - public group of mushroom stakeholders created and maintained by the society of mycologists
Facebook group 'for mushroom hunters' - a private group of mushroom enthusiasts (“all about and around mushroom and mushroom”)
Sateka. Mushroom Road project - information about LEADER project as well as project materials - mushroom calendar, mushroom booklet, video materials