“Užgavėnės” Pancake day!

KaukėsEvery country has its own traditions and events. This day is no exception for Lithuania.
It is going to sound very strange for you, but today we celebrate joyful day called Užgavėnės. I tried translate and translation sounds like this: Shrovetide or Pancake Day. More I prefer Pancake Day, because pancakes in užgavėnės symbolize returning of the sun.
Why this day is so special from others? Because from this day only 7 weeks or 46 days left till Easter. So from this day for religious Lithuanians means upcoming 46 days is going to be without meat, hard work in peace and silence waiting for real spring to come when all work starts again. BUT we don’t live in 19-20 century so today is just another day to make celebration, only this celebration means that we throwing winter out of our backyard. That’s the main meaning of Užgavėnės. There’s a lot of symbols in this event how we throw the winter out. First there are two main symbols of winter and spring. Winter personify as Lašininis (“porky”) and spring is personified by Kanapinis (“hempen man”) yes I know this sounds funny. Between these two always are the “fight” and Kanapinis always wins. This symbolize that spring is coming. Next thing we try to scare winter and dress costumes of goats, devils, witches, the grim reaper, gypsies and other playful and frightening characters. Yes it does remind a bit of Halloween, but it’s not the same. And the last but not least at the end of celebration we burn another symbol of winter called Morė (“Effigy”).
I hope you don’t think now that we live in the woods and have internet from nowhere. This is one of our elders traditional celebration. And next time if you going to be in Lithuania, I highly recommend you visit this kind of celebration ant Vilnius in Gediminas avenue or at Rumšiškės park. Sadly this year for us with Milda we didn’t had a chance to see this celebration.

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