Published on March 25, 2024 by

Užgavėnės is a traditional Lithuanian folk festival celebrated on the eve of Ash Wednesday, marking the beginning of Lent in the Christian calendar. The festival typically occurs in February or early March, varying based on the date of Easter. Užgavėnės is characterized by lively and colorful celebrations featuring various customs and rituals deeply rooted in pagan traditions.

During Užgavėnės, people dress up in elaborate masks and costumes representing various characters, such as devils, witches, goats, and other mythical creatures. These disguises are believed to ward off evil spirits and symbolize the banishment of winter.

One of the main activities during Užgavėnės is the procession, where participants wearing masks and costumes parade through the streets, singing, dancing, and engaging in playful antics. Traditional music, dance, and food play significant roles in the festivities, with pancakes (blynai) being a popular treat symbolizing the sun and the coming of spring.

Other customs observed during Užgavėnės include the burning of a symbolic figure known as Morė, representing winter’s end, and the playing of various games and competitions, such as egg rolling and sledding.

Overall, Užgavėnės is a joyous celebration deeply ingrained in Lithuanian culture, offering a vibrant display of tradition, community spirit, and the anticipation of the approaching spring season.

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