Shrovetide carnival is a traditional holiday, one of the merriest events in Lithuania. Shrovetide was first organized in Vilnius in 1995.
Užgavėnės – is a carnival, which escorts winter. This holiday is not associated with any church rituals. Its traditions clearly unify elements of culture before Christianity and during Christianity. Fortune-telling occurs during this evening. For example, it is believed that all the witches can be seen if during Užgavėnės you scrape out all the leftovers from your teeth and tie them up in a handkerchief and wear it under your bosom until Easter.
From early morning people in costumes begin roaming – devils, witches, reapers, goats, Gypsies, beggars and others. They usually visit homes, sometimes businesses as well, play pranks, act, sing, try to snatch something and then demand payment, throw water or if they catch someone, they bathe them in snow. After the pranks, the ones in costume ask for pancakes or money.
It is believed that on this day you have to eat a lot (not less than 12 times), because it is the last day before the fast of Lent. The traditional food of the holiday – pancakes. Other special dishes are fat pork, "šiupinys" (a boiled cereal with meat, barley or peas, seasoned and somewhat decorated with a pig’s ear or snout in the bowl), stewed cabbage, pancakes, doughnuts.
In the evening people yell "winter, winter get out of my yard", the "Morė" (a creature made of straw) is burned – the symbol of winter. Then two men get changed, one – fat – Lašininis, the other – thin – Kanapinis and they fight. Usually the thin one wins, while the fat one is chased away until Easter.
Frenzied, fun and full of love Shrovetide in Vilnius on 14 February invites Vilnius residents and visitors to a big fat Lithuanian wedding of Morė (Žemaitija) and Gavėnas (Aukštaitija), which will be buzzing the whole day in V.Kudirkos Square and Gediminas Avenue. Tousle your feathers, grab the mask and your other half and run to the wedding - it's time to get hitched!
In Gediminas Avenue
10.00 – 20.00 Shrovetide Fair with love pancakes and music.
14.00 – 15.00 Stroll of Morė and Gavėnas along the Avenue with the symbolic escort from Žemaitija and Aukštaitija.
15.00 – 16.00 Everyone gets married to the one he/she loves - the wedding ceremony (all willing are getting married)
16.00 – 17.15 Concerti gruossu (greetings to all newlyweds).
17.30 – 18.00 Wedding procession (nationwide carnival procession to Tauras Hill).
On Tauras Hill
18.00 – 18.30 Sizzling farewell to post-wedding trip.
18.30 – 22.00 Newlywed's Waltz (traditional dance marathon).
More information: www.etno.lt
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