Weihnachten in Litauen
Für Austeja aus Litauen beginnt die Weihnachtszeit erst so richtig, wenn die ganze Stadt weihnachtlich dekoriert glitzert. Heute erzählt sie uns, wie sie zu Hause in Litauen mit Familie und Freunden die Weihnachtstage verbringt: von Traditionen, 12 Gerichten und davon, wie sie vielleicht sogar schon an Weihnachten weiß, wie das nächste Jahr wird.
Everybody starts to wait for Christmas after the main Christmas Tree of the city is decorated. Usually it happens on the last weekend of November. Everybody gets really excited as the illuminated Christmas Tree means that the Christmas Market with all the tasty pastries, small gifts and mulled wine is also ready to make everyone happy. This year the Christmas Tree and the market are all “under one roof” due to really original decorations, have a look yourself.
As talking about the Christmas traditions, usually Lithuanians spend this time with the loved ones, visit close friends and use the opportunity to express their gratitude for another great year. In our country Christmas Evening is more important than the Christmas Day. Christmas Evening is usually spent with only family members and people try really hard to prepare 12 dishes.
Our traditional Christmas Eve dinner dish is called Kūčiukai (try to pronounce like Q-chew-Kai (male name). They are small slightly sweet pastries made from leavened dough and poppy seeds. It goes really well with fresh cranberry pap. That’s already 2 dishes!
As a main dish we eat fish, such as pike, carp or herring, alongside potatoes or rice and some salad. We also have various snacks and starters, such as pastries stuffed with mushroom, Russian salad without meat, or very original beetroot, herring and potatoes salad. Christmas Eve dinner is all about light and simple food, thus meat is not welcome on our table.
It is also very popular to share a Christmas wafer before starting the dinner. According to tradition, all family members say a little pray together and then the oldest family member holds a Christmas wafer for every family member to take a piece of it. After this is done, the dinner starts.
Some people also like to make spells during Christmas Eve. For example, the most famous one is to put some hay under the tablecloth and after the dinner each family member pulls a straw. It is believed that the pulled straw represents what will be your life: if it’s long, you will lead a long and successful life, if it’s short – you might have some difficulties. However, since a lot of people have prejudice, they choose not to trust their future on a simple straw.
It is also thought that leaving the food on the table overnight is a nice way to remember those family members who are no longer with us. People believe that their passed away relatives come to visit us on the Christmas Eve therefore people try to leave a set or 2 of dishes and some food.
To sum up, Christmas Eve in Lithuania is all about family and mystery, while Christmas Day is considered to be the perfect time to visit other relatives or friends, have some fun, eat sweets and share the good mood.