Posted by: Mary | March 8, 2011

Užgavėnės Festival!

Sunday was my last full day in Lithuania and I started the morning with a long walk to the Church of Sts. Peter and Paul, which is outside the Old Town, but close to the Cathedral area where I was staying.  On the way back, I stopped at the Old Arsenal building, which houses a museum that currently has a 1920’s Art Deco period exhibit with lots of women’s fashion from around the world on display from the period.

    

At 4:00pm, the Užgavėnės Festival (Shrovetide) began at the Old Town Square and I had specifically delayed my return until Monday so that I could see it. It was a celebration of the end of Winter and coming of Spring, but ironically, it snowed almost the entire two hours. There was lots of singing and dancing on the stage and in front of it. An old man asked me to join in for one song and I did, even though I didn’t really know the folk dance. I just followed along and had a lot of fun. Some of the people made and wore the traditional masks, but not as many as I was expecting. I took a lot of photos and did my best to keep warm. They were serving hot beer and wine, and the wine helped warm my hands. What a wonderful experience to be here, celebrating the start of Spring while dancing in the street and listening to music as the snow fell. I feel so lucky to have made this trip!

If you wa nt to know more about Užgavėnės celebrations in Lithuania, check out this 2008 blog post from Traditions Across Europe – An Entwinning.

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