Accepted Paper:

Calendar festival in a family: Christmas Eve and Christmas in Lithuania  

Author:

Rasa Paukštytė - Šaknienė (Lithuanian Institute of History)

Paper short abstract:

The aim of this report is to reveal the changes in the customs of Christmas Eve and Christmas in contemporary Lithuania as well as the role of these changes in the structure of the ritual year.

Paper long abstract:

The aim of this report is to reveal the changes in the customs of Christmas Eve and Christmas in contemporary Lithuania as well as the role of these changes in the structure of the ritual year. After Soviet occupation socialistic traditions started being formed in Lithuania considering ideological interests of that period of time. Scripts of newly formed festivals were being created. The majority of festivals were communal ones and were adapted for the celebration in the city. On the other hand, calendar customs celebrated in a family did not receive a considerable attention of ideologists. Little attention was drawn to these issues also by ethnologists. Still the analysis of the situation in the eighties of the 20th century proves that "the majority of old feasts of the folk, which were considered to be religious and widely spread, are commemorated by the believers only; however Easter and Christmas are celebrated almost everywhere. They are regarded as traditional family feasts". Hence, these feasts gained great significance in the period of national revival. After 1988 public discussions about the aspirations to "revive" old traditions were more and more common. It might have been accomplished in a family most easily. According to the fieldwork in Vilnius city in 2011 the youth distinguished Christmas Eve and Christmas as the most traditional feasts taken over from grandparents and parents. Also, these festivals were notified as the most preferable Calendar and family events.

Panel P61
Feast and ritual in the regeneration of society