Lithuanian Christmas traditions

Dec 01 - Dec 31

Winter holidays is the time when some are tingling with impatience and others pretend not to care. But everyone, hon-estly, everyone in Lithuania is dreaming of a white Christmas! This has been the case since ancient times. And that says a lot, since we have been celebrating the winter solstice ever since we were pagans. And after the baptism, we add-ed to the old traditions prayers, the Advent, decorating Christmas trees, and sharing around kalėdaičiai- thin white wafers eaten on Christmas Eve. During Christmas Eve, hard work is prohibited. The hardest part of it is cooking a min-imum of 12 Christmas dishes while fasting until everyone has gathered around the table. Which traditionally happens once the Western Star (Venus) appears in the sky. You ought not eat meat during Christmas Eve in Lithuania, so all dishes are of fish and vegetable origin. Mushrooms, cabbage, borsch and dumplings prevail. Fortune telling follows the meal: straws are being pulled from under the table – the person with the longest straw will live longest; facing away from a door, a shoe is thrown over one’s shoulder – if the pointy end is facing the door, you will either move or get mar-ried. Christmas is celebrated on December 25-26th. The first day is for the family: gifts are exchanged and festive meals served: roast poultry, sweet baked goods and gingerbread. The second day is for visiting others and the youth. Want an incredibly cozy Christmas experience? Visit the St. Bernardine and St. Anne churches during the holiday. Only about a dozen steps separate them.

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