Chasing Away Winter, Pancake Day, and Restoration of State Day

Monday, February 16, 2015

A lot of holidays are happening right now in Lithuania! This past weekend was jam-packed with events happening all over Vilnius, and events will continue until Tuesday night.

Uzgavenes or Shrovetide is a traditional holiday that banishes winter by burning a figure made out of straw. Somehow a mass wedding is associated with this banishment of winter, but I still haven't figured out how the two fit together. Also, people are supposed to dress up in masks and costumes, play pranks, and eat a large number of pancakes. Shrovetide will actually be celebrated this Tuesday, but some of the festivities (eating, fairs, burning) took place over the weekend.

This year, shrovetide happens to fall on the day after the Lithuanian Restoration of State Day (February 16). The Restoration of State Day is when Lithuanians gained independence from Germany in 1918. On February 16th their will be fireworks and concerts in Cathedral Square and elsewhere in Vilnius.

For more information about the events taking place next week visit this website.







Do you like learning about culture through the celebration of different holidays?

10 comments:

  1. Pancakes galore here in England too!

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    1. Yum! I saw so many pancake photos on Instagram this week as well!

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  2. We celebrate Pancake Day in Canada as well, but in Newfoundland we also add money and other objects (toothpicks, buttons, rings etc) to our pancakes. Different objects have different meanings for the person who eats that pancake! People seem to think it'd be dangerous but you kind of pick apart the pancake before you eat it. haha

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    1. Cool! My Tibetan friend does something similar (not with pancakes or on pancake day) but whatever they get in their food that year is meant to have some meaning. Very cool! The Greek side of my family hides a coin in bread for Easter and whoever gets it has luck for that year. I love learning about different traditions for holidays around the world!

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  3. Seems like a sort of Mardi Gras / Carnival / Fat Tuesday / pre-Lenten type of festival?

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    1. The pancakes are for Fat Tuesday, but the burning of straw creatures is different I believe.

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  4. Happy Malenitsa! (Well, that's what the Russians call it.) Lithuania's traditions sound quite similar!

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    1. Happy Uzgavenes! I think there are a lot of similarities between the two countries.

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  5. Is the wedding association an ancient Roman/Greek god thing; Persephone's agreement with Hades to allow her in the world for 6 months of the year, but only on condition that she married him?
    Ps. How very cool!

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    1. It would be very cool if it was! I'm not sure there are many similarities in Lithuanian old pagan celebrations and ancient Greek, but I'm no religions major! I loved being able to see a bit of the holiday this year!

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