What is Shrove Tuesday?
Shrove Tuesday celebration was particularly popular in Zemaitija. In some Zemaitian villages these traditions have survived to the present day. The traditional figures in the carnival are the loan Kanapinis (the Hemp Man), Lasininis (the Fatty), a "Jew" offering his goods in broken Lithuanian, a "Gypsy" looking for something to pilfer, and a great number of other funny, caricature masks. Men disguise themselves as women, and vice versa.
The old maid More - a female symbol of the clash between winter and spring - is trundled about in a cart. In one hand she usually holds a flail and in the other a broom, for she cannot make up her mind whether she should continues flailing last year's harvest or start sweeping the yard and do the spring-cleaning. Shrove Tuesday celebrations are full of humour, jokes, superstitions and fortune telling. It is a popular.
People do not do any hard work on Shrove Tuesday. They go on swings and merry-go-rounds, visit friends, enjoy sledding down the slopes while others try to pour water on them. All this is done to make "flax grow tall", to ensure hens lay more eggs, birds do no damage to the corn, and so on and so forth.
Shrovetide carnival is a traditional holiday, one of the merriest events in Lithuania. Shrovetide was first organized in Vilnius in 1995.
Užgavėnės (Shrove Tuesday) – is a carnival, which escorts winter. This holiday is not associated with any church rituals. Its traditions clearly unify elements of culture before Christianity and during Christianity. Fortune-telling occurs during this evening. For example, it is believed that all the witches can be seen if during Užgavėnės you scrape out all the leftovers from your teeth and tie them up in a handkerchief and wear it under your bosom until Easter.
From early morning, on the second day of Užgavėnės people in costumes begin roaming – devils, witches, reapers, goats, Gypsies, beggars and others. They usually visit homes, sometimes businesses as well, play pranks, act, sing, try to snatch something and then demand payment, throw water or if they catch someone, they bathe them in snow. After the pranks, the ones in costume ask for pancakes or money. It is believed that on this day you have to eat a lot (not less than 12 times), because it is the last day before the fast of Lent. The traditional food of the holiday – pancakes. Other special dishes are fat pork, “šiupinys” (a boiled cereal with meat, barley or peas, seasoned and somewhat decorated with a pig’s ear or snout in the bowl), stewed cabbage, pancakes, doughnuts.