ClevelandPeople.Com
Lithuanian Christmas Traditions

Lithuanian Christmas Traditions
from Honorary Consul General Ingrida Bublys
December, 2020

Christmas in Lithuania is a special occasion with very old and deep traditions.

Christmas Eve (Kucios) is a more important day than Christmas Day. It is a special Christmas Eve meal when family members gather together. Kucios is also the last day of Advent, so it is important and special.

Straw is a traditional decoration. Is it normally spread on the table top and then covered with a clean, white tablecloth. The table is then decorated with candles and small branches or twigs from a fir tree. The straw reminds people of the baby Jesus lying in a manger.

Ingrida says "That evening the table setting is with a white tablecloth and no red or other Christmas ornaments just fir twigs."

Ingrida Bublys Christmas Eve table

Ingrida's table on Christmas Eve (Kucios)

At the center of the table is a plate of Christmas wafers - one wafer for each person at the meal. The meal starts when the first stars can be seen in the night sky. The wafers are offered to each person at the table and Christmas greetings are exchanged. Sometimes an apple is also cut into as many people at the meal and is shared. This remembers the apple eaten in the Garden of Eden.

The Kucios meal normally has 12 dishes - one for each of Jesus's followers. None of the dishes contain meat (and some people also don't have milk or eggs in them).

Kuciukai before being soaked in the poppy seed milk

Kuciukai before being soaked in the poppy seed milk

Lithuanian Christmas Eve table with kuciukai

Lithuanian Christmas Eve table with kuciukai


Traditional and popular dishes include fish (often herring), kuciukai (small sweet pastries) normally soaked in poppy milk, kisielius (a drink made from cranberries), dried fruit soup, beet soup (often with mushroom filled dumplings in it), vegetable salad, mushrooms, boiled or baked potatoes, sauerkraut, a kind of wheat porridge with honey and bread. Normally water or homemade cider is drunk with the meal.

Sweet dishes are also often eaten including kissel (a fruit soup/jelly thickened with potato flour) and stewed fruit compote.

After the meal (or possibly between the main and sweet courses) there might be a visit from 'The Old Man of Christmas' (Santa Claus) with presents! People will also exchange presents between themselves. It is also a tradition to draw a straw from underneath the table to see who will find the longest straw meaning they will live the longest.

Ingrida says "After the dinner we all enjoy drawing the straw from underneath the table cloth."

Ingrida Bublys family Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve (Kuciios)


When the presents have been exchanged it is traditional to go out to Midnight Mass (Berneliu mišios - which means Shepherds' Mass).

Popular Christmas Tree decorations in Lithuania are ones made from straws. They are often in the shapes of stars, snowflakes and other geometric shapes. Also apples and candy are hung.

Christmas Day is celebrated by visiting relatives and friends.

Lithuanian families today practice this ancient tradition of Christmas Eve not only in Lithuania but were ever Lithuanians resides. My family keeps up the traditions as much as possible.



***

Stay informed about the local Lithuanian community by signing up for the free Lithuanian eNews mailings. You can select other specific groups as well. It's easy and free.
Fill out the form for the free Lithuanian eNews.


***






Back to Top

Back to Cleveland Lithuanians

Back to Holiday Traditions

For sponsorship opportunities, please contact us.

Please support the Lithuanian pages of ClevelandPeople.Com.


Your message could be HERE!











If you want to reach the Lithuanian community in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio, please contact us.






Visit our on-line
Lithuanian Store

Books, Music, DVDs, Clothes, Flags and More




Stay informed about the news and special events of the Cleveland Lithuanian community and any other Group(s) you choose by signing up for the free ClevelandPeople.Com e-newsletter



If you like the work of ClevelandPeople.Com please consider a donation (any amount) safely via credit card. Thanks!





Contact us for high-resolution photos from this or other page

























 Copyright © 2021
      Magnum Computers Inc.