Let’s take a closer look at Christmas in Lithuania, its celebration and traditions.
Christmas in Lithuania is often associated with a Christmas tree, snow, lots of lights, joy and time spent together with family and friends. Lithuanians start the celebration of Christmas holiday on the Christmas Eve. That’s an extremely significant celebration when the whole family gets together. Also, everyone has to make sure that none of their closest people left alone.
Following the tradition, there cannot be less than twelve dishes on the table and they cannot contain meat. Usually the meals include fish, salads, mushrooms, kisielius (a traditional Lithuanian drink made with cranberries) and kūčiukai (small, slightly sweet pastries) that are served with poppy seed milk. Another interesting thing that on Christmas Eve Lithuanian’s setting the table with one extra seat. You may ask for who? The answer is: for unexpected guest or family member who has died during the past year.
How Christmas Eve dinner usually prepared?
As predominant religion in Lithuania is Christianity, people usually fast during the day and start their Christmas Eve dinner with a prayer. Then each person takes a Christmas wafer and shares with each other. While breaking and sharing the wafer, people take time to apologize, to thank or simply enjoy each other’s good qualities or help. In some regions of Lithuania people divide an apple into pieces and share it as well as the Christmas wafers.
During the dinner each person has to try at least twelve dishes served on the table. One dish represent one month of the year or according to others, one for each Jesus’ disciple. Otherwise, as Lithuanian‘s ancestors believed, for those who doesn’t follow this rule, the coming year will not be neither rich, nor satiated.
Lithuania’s Christmas spirit.
After the dinner usually the plates are being left on the table till the next morning. People believe, that the ancestral spirits gather at the dinner table on Christmas night to celebrate. Often children can’t wait the dinner to end, after it everyone expects a visit from Santa Claus.
Moreover, some people still makes different traditional spells in order to know whether they are going to meet the love of their life this year, to travel or to spend more time at home etc. After sharing the gifts, the whole family might go out to Shepherds’ Mass to celebrate the birth of Jesus.
Christmas Day celebration.
On Christmas Day, Lithuanians usually gather again for lunch or dinner with their family, friends and even neighbors. Enjoying each other’s company, exchanging gifts, watching Christmas movies, listening to Christmas music, visiting a Christmas tree at the city center, ice skating, having snowball fight or building snowmen. On the first and second Christmas days friends and distant relatives can visit.
If you want to feel the Christmas in Lithuania, we recommend to make a weekend trip out of visiting charming Christmas Market in the main square of the Vilnius Old Town!