This article addresses the commemoration of the deceased by examining a peculiar Latvian religious tradition—the cemetery festival. Latvian society is moving down the path to secularization. Participation in religious ritual practices could be expected to decrease in a predominately secular society. Nevertheless, the tradition of the cemetery festival practiced in Latvia shows that the relationship between the religious and the secular is much more complex than simply being in opposition to each other. The analysis is based on data obtained by undertaking fieldwork at cemeteries in Latvia. Participant observation and qualitative in-depth interviews were the main research tools used in the fieldwork. Through an analysis of the fieldwork data, this article explains, first, how honoring of the deceased currently takes place in Latvia; second, the factors which have determined the preservation of the cemetery festival tradition despite the forced secularization of the Soviet period and the general secularization encountered today; third, the relationship between religious and secular activities and their transformation at the cemetery festival.
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