It is usually winter season during Christmas time at Lithuania. The grounds are always icy from the snow rainfalls. But, this does not stop them from celebrating the birth of Christ in style.
For the Lithuanians, Christmas eve is more important than the actual Christmas day. Thus, they hold grand celebrations on 24 December as per the advent calendar.
What Happens During the Christmas Eve?
The families gather together to celebrate as they prepare different delicacies. They hold the major celebration on this day because it is the last day of their advent calendar.
Hence they close the advent with feasts.
Before the feast, there are various activities the Lithuanians undertake as part of the preparation. These activities are;
- They clean up the entire house.
- They clean all the dirty clothes and organize their closets.
- They change their beddings.
- They also take their baths and wear clean clothes as they wait for evening meals.
Traditionally, the Lithuanians used to go to a sacred house referred to as “bathhouse” for cleaning purposes.
They believed that being cleansed before the meal helped them evade diseases and bad luck in the New Year.
The Christmas Day
The cleaning continues even on Christmas day but mainly for the working men. They take out their animals and thoroughly clean the animals’ shelters and the farmyards.
The Lithuanians fast during this day, although it is optional. Those who don’t fast can only eat food that does not contain meat.
The Christmas Decorations
One of their outstanding decors is the use of straws. Straw is a traditional decoration spread on their meal table. The straw is covered with a clean white table cloth.
Also, the table features other decorations such as lit candles, small branches, and twigs from the fig tree.
The straw is used to represent baby Jesus lying in the manger. Other than this, they also believe the straw possesses gifts of life that they get to choose.
For example, if you pull a long strand of straw from under the table, it signifies that you will have a long life.
If you draw a short one, your life in this world will be brief. If you pick a thick straw, it signifies that you will be filled with riches.
The Christmas Tree
The Lithuanians also decorate a Christmas tree in their houses. They use white paper straws in the shape of a star, snowflakes, geometric shapes, and stick them on the Christmas tree.
The Lithuanians ensure to invite their family members, including the dead ones. For the family members who cannot come for the meal or those who are departed, they set up a table for them.
They also lit up a candle to celebrate and remember the family members who died.
This is done because they believe that their departed family members come to visit them during the Christmas celebrations.
So, they set the table as a way of inviting them to join in the celebration of Christ.
Christmas Traditional Meals
One of the meals shared during Christmas Eve is wafer which is set in the middle of the table. Every person has to be served a piece wafer.
Some of the crackers are made with a sign of the birth of Christ to signify their celebrations. The meals are traditionally served ones they see the first star in the sky.
But, the head of the house can decide on when to eat in case the star does not show up on time.
The Lithuanians also share an apple which is cut among the people on the table. The apple represents the fruit that was eaten by Adam and Eve at the Garden of Eden.
The people share a total of 12 meals served with no meat. Some of their traditional
Christmas Eve meals are herring fish, small sweet pastries, drinks made of cranberries, dried fruits soup, beet soup, and many others. The desserts contain sugary foods.
After Xmas Meal Celebrations
The people also exchange presents among themselves during this period. After the meal and gifting, the kids retire to bed while the adults go out or opt to rest in their houses.
The Christmas celebration goes on until 6 January.
In Lithuanian Happy/Merry Christmas is ‘Linksmų Kalėdų’. It is interesting to know how people wish Happy or Merry Christmas in other languages.
Learn More With the Help of Video
Main Points About Christmas in Lithuania
- Christmas in Lithuania is a warm Christmas at all. There is always snow and ice on the ground.
- Christmas eve is the merrier than Christmas day in Lithuania.
- On Christmas eve that Kucios (The big Christmas eve meal). It is a special and important meal shared with families.
- There is a lot of preparation before Kucios. There is fasting, the house is cleaned, clothes are changed and everyone is washed clean. The preparations are believed to ward off evil.
- On the meal table, there is usually a traditional straw decoration. This is a reminder of the baby Jesus. The straw is also symbolic of a long happy life of wealth.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Christmas in Lithuania
- How do they celebrate Christmas in Lithuania?
Lithuania is a country where snowfall and low temperatures are present during the time of Christmas. People decorate their houses and offices using lights and gift the children chocolates and other goodies.
- What might you eat at Christmas in Lithuania?
In the country of Lithuania, the fish which is dipped in poppy milk is famous during the Christmas time. People also eat boiled and baked vegetables along with rice.
- What is Santa Claus called in Lithuania?
In the country of Lithuania, Santa Claus is known by the name of Kaleda.
- Does Vilnius have a Christmas market?
Vilnius is a place that organizes one of the biggest Christmas markets of entire Europe. The 550-foot-long TV tower is converted into a Christmas tree. Various eatable items and decorative items are present in the market.
Lithuania shares many traditions with other countries in the East, like straw under the table cloth and 12 dishes.
But a unique tradition for Lithuania is setting the table with one plate extra, for a family member who can’t attend or if someone has died during the year.
Many believe that the dead family members will joint hem. People who are alone at Christmas are also invited.
Word Cloud for Christmas in Lithuania
The following is a collection of the most used terms in this article on Christmas in Lithuania. This should help in recalling related terms as used in this article at a later stage for you.