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Sashes

Sashes are used as a waist girdle in the national costume and also to make women's headpieces. At present sashes, very often with woven-in words, are used to honour people on the occasion of their birthdays, or to welcome an honourable guest. Sashes are also used on funeral wreaths instead of ribbons. Small ribbons with national patterns are used together with a badge on a lapel, or to tie a present.

Sashes are produced by twisting, twining and weaving techniques. Sashes, found in ancient burial places, date back to the 4th and 5th A centuries B.C. Now, twined and woven sashes are the most popular. Earlier, several score of motifs were used in sashes. Symbols of the celestial bodies predominated, such as crosses, stars, and very often a six-pointed star in a rhombus. Frequent were the motifs of fir-tree, blossom, bud, rake, and tree of life. Because of the weaving techniques plant motifs are similar to geometrical patterns and sometimes it is very difficult to differentiate between them.

In the world outlook of the ancient Lithuanians the circle symbolized the sun. It was also used as a protection against evil spirits. The circle is a symbol of the sun, virtue and warmth. A sash with sun symbols, girdling a person's waist, makes a circle around him. In this way, a sash practically symbolized two things.

The patterns of twisted and twined sashes are less complicated, they usually consist of stripes, squares, herring-bone, teeth, rhombuses. Twined sashes are made of wool yarn and no tools are used for that.

Every girl was supposed to know how to make sashes. After their wedding, on their way to their new homes, brides used to tie sashes on wayside crosses and trees and then on the gate of their husband's homestead to ensure their happy conjugal life. Brides used to leave sashes at every place they were likely to frequent in the future - at the fireplace, the wellsweep, the bathhouse. Sashes were used as presents for the musicians at the wedding and neighbours. Sashes were used as part of the swaddling for babies, particularly when they were taken to church to be baptised, also to support bast baskets while sowing, and pots of food taken to the field workers. Sashes were also used to spread under the feet of the bride and bridegroom in church and also to support the coffin while lowering it into the hole.



next previous contents
Next: Palm Sunday flowers of the Vilnius region Previous: Fabrics

J. Kudirka "THE LITHUANIANS"

Copyright ©, 1996 Lithuanian Folk Culture Centre.