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Surprise national holiday declared in Latvia after ice hockey bronze

Latvian players celebrate the game-winning goal
Latvian players celebrate the game-winning goal Copyright AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin
Copyright AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin
By Scott Reid
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The country enjoyed an unexpected holiday after unprecedented success at world championships.


While Monday was a holiday in many European countries, Latvians woke up to discover they'd been granted a last-minute day off too - thanks to their ice hockey team. 

The country took bronze at the world championship, which it was co-hosting with Finland, after defeating the United States.

It's the country's first-ever world championship medal and led to a late-night meeting of parliament to agree the public holiday. 

In a ten minute session at a quarter to midnight, members of parliament unanimously agreed to the holiday.

The bill's sponsors said it was to "strengthen the fact of significant success of Latvian athletes in the social memory of the society."

Tens of thousands of people gathered in Riga on the last-minute holiday to welcome their hockey heroes home. 

However, given the last-minute nature of the holiday there was a little bit of confusion over who it applied to. Exams scheduled for the day went ahead, while court hearings were cancelled. 

Aigars Rostovskis, the president of the Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told broadcaster LSM: “It will be chaos for many.”

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