Presentation on theme: "Easter is the greatest annual church and national calendar, spring holiday. This date is set according to the moon cycle after March 21 st, first Sunday."— Presentation transcript:
Easter is the greatest annual church and national calendar, spring holiday. This date is set according to the moon cycle after March 21 st, first Sunday of the full moon. Easter rituals start one week before Easter..That week is called the Great Week, it is full of prohibitions, beliefs and archaic traditions.
Lithuanians heated the bathhouses so that men could bathe from midnight to dawn and women on the morning of Holy Thursday. Holy Wednesday was a dry day of fasting, with no milk, meat, butter and on this day no one left the house while chewing on something so that rats would not enter the house. On the last Thursday before Easter, women cleaned houses, washed windows, whitened walls and stoves, washed clothes. Spinners hid spinning wheels and spindles because should they be seen by anyone, the spinner would have great difficulty with her work during the coming year. Holy Friday was also held to be an unusual day. People cast spells, chased witches and other evils. To make insects disappear from houses, stoves were heated with the herb artemisia and all house bugs and insects were thrown into the fire. Ashes were removed, taken far away from the house and dug under.
Blessing of water takes place on Holy Saturday. It was tradition to bring back holy water in a hurry, so that farm chores would be done faster that year. On Easter, morning the house, fields, orchards and barns were all sprinkled with holy water. Some holy water was poured into wells, lakes and ponds. Old people washed their eyes and skin with holy water. Homemakers wet cows' udders, vegetable seeds and seedlings. The sick and dying were also sprinkled with holy water
Before the First World War, throughout Lithuania, food was blessed on Easter morning. This tradition has remained in the region of Dzûkija. Easter eggs, salt, bread, cakes, ham, bacon, sausage, butter and cheese were foods to be blessed. Blessing eggs and bread would assure plenty of food all year.
Having returned with the blessed foods, everyone sat at the table, laden with traditional foods: eggs, pig's head or roast piglet, cheese, butter and baked lamb. If there was no baked lamb, there was a lamb made of butter or sugar placed on top of sprouted oat greens. This was a symbol of Easter. Before eating began, the family stood around the table, saying three prayers and wishing peace to the home. Eating began with eggs. If your egg shell is stronger, you are destined to live longer.
Children visited godparents and relatives to collect Easter eggs. A child upon entering the house, says nothing, just puts one finger into his mouth and receives an egg. If he places two fingers, two eggs are placed in his basket. Giving eggs to the children means that hens will be prolific layers. The tradition of egg gathering still exists.
Egg rolling is also popular throughout Lithuania. A thick tree bark with a smooth inside is placed at an angle and eggs are rolled down through it. When the egg hits another egg, which had rolled down earlier, the egg's owner takes possession of both eggs.
Easter eggs were taken to children by the imaginary Easter woman, who was not to be seen by the childrenChildren usually found two Easter eggs, in places like wooden shoes, baskets and even in bed. These eggs were very different from those that were dyed at home. Most often mothers exchanged eggs with neighbors or secretly used different dyes. Children began to wait for the Easter Woman on Holy Saturday afternoon, prepared egg nests and placed them in flower gardens, bushes, between wall logs and even on doorsteps. Each child tried to make most beautiful and colorful nests.
The most important symbol of Easter in Lithuania is Easter eggs (marguciai). Painting, dyeing and decorating eggs is a tradition popular in Eastern European countries. It is a very ancient custom. Although Easter is a Christian feast, the tradition of painting eggs is much older than Christianity. The tradition of decorating eggs is still very alive in Lithuania. You can find Easter eggs in every home. I remember that dyeing eggs was very fun when I was a kid. It was so special to paint eggs together with all family members! Easter eggs can be dyed in a single color or in patterns. The most beautiful eggs are those painted with wax. A stick is dipped in hot wax and then patterns with the stick are painted on a warm egg. When the painting with wax is completed, the egg is dipped in dye. Later the egg is placed into hot water for wax to melt.