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Shrove Tuesday (Seven Weeks before Easter)

Shrove Tuesday signaled the weakening of winter and the end of feasting and merriment during the time period between the Advent and Lenten fasts. Driving behind horses, sledding down a hill on a distaff board, doing the wash or dragging a chopping block on a rope on this day ensured a good flax harvest that year. Being sated during Shrove Tuesday meant being sated throughout the whole year. Thus, people tried to eat as often as possible on this day, even twelve times if they could.

In Zemaitija the most important part of this holiday was the merry procession of costumed people through villages. Many of their costumes were obvious caricatures: Shrove Tuesday Jews, beggars, angels, devils, death, traveling healers called Hungarians, zoomorphic masked characters (goats, cranes and others) and More's escorts. More was an effigy dressed in women's clothes affixed to a wagon wheel which turned as it was dragged on the ground. After everyone had fooled around enough, More was dragged outside of the village and burned. Gavenas was a similar figure popular in Eastern Lithuania. Shrove Tuesday's festivities ended with the cock's crow, and the next day marked the beginning of the strict Lenten fast.



next previous contents
Next: Gavenia (Lent) Previous: Three Kings' Day (January 6th)

"LITHUANIAN ROOTS", Edited by Rytis Ambrazevicius


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