Lithuanians are crazy about Christmas and everything that comes with this wonderful holiday! Even the grumpiest people have smiles on their faces and forget about the cold weather and short days. There are plenty of unique traditions that every Lithuanian can relate to, some of which are centuries old. One thing is for sure, though—Christmas in Lithuania would not be complete without them!
Kūčiukai With Poppy Milk
Kūčiukai are bite-sized biscuits served with freshly made poppy milk that are only eaten during the Christmas season. You would never ever see Lithuanians having this dish any other time. So, if you want to try it, better make your way to Lithuania before Santa Claus.
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It is no surprise that kids believe in magic, but during Christmas, even adults join in and get involved in various Christmas spells. Single people find out when they will meet their other half by pulling straws from beneath the table (there is no data about the efficiency of this spell, though). Also, Lithuanians believe that animals start talking at midnight on Christmas Eve, so don’t be surprised if you see locals spying on their pets.
We all know that Santa Claus actually exists, but he has a lot of kids to visit around the world, so he doesn’t have time to visit Lithuania, which is why Lithuanians made a deal with Santa and got permission to dress up as him to surprise their kids on Christmas Eve. That is how Lithuanian kids grow up believing in Santa Claus.
Home Alone , starring Macaulay Culkin, has been the traditional Christmas movie in Lithuania for years. Every 90s kid knows Kevin McCallister’s story. Many things change in Lithuania, but you can bet you’ll see Home Alone on TV during the holidays. More recently, the Harry Potter movies have also become a staple of Lithuanian Christmas.
Almost every house in Lithuania has a Christmas tree decorated with garlands and lights. Actually decorating the Christmas tree is an important family tradition in and of itself. Historically, people would cut the Christmas tree from the nearest forest, but today, decorative Christmas trees are getting more and more popular, as it’s more convenient and better for the environment.
Going to Church
Lithuania is largely a Catholic society, so many visit the local church on Christmas. However, there seems to be something about this holiday that inspires even those who aren’t particularly religious to go to Mass. So, yes, many people in Lithuania only go to church for weddings, funerals and Christmas.
Not overeating on Christmas is not possible, no matter where you are in the world. Who can refuse a delicious home-cooked meal? Oh yes, mother’s food is always the best, especially on Christmas Eve, when every table in Lithuania is stacked with at least 12 different dishes. In accordance with Catholic traditions, many Lithuanians abstain from meat on Christmas, so most of the dishes are fish.
Emigration is quite a social problem in Lithuania, as many people have left the country to look for a better life abroad, especially since joining the European Union. But on Christmas, many come back to spend the holiday with their families, as everyone gathers together from all over the world to celebrate and appreciate each other’s company.
Is there a better drink than mulled wine by the fireplace when the weather outside is super cold? Well, in Lithuania, daylight only lasts for eight hours or so in winter, and the cold sets in quickly, so many Lithuanians consider mulled wine a winter staple.
Lithuanians always prefer to have snow during the Christmas holiday. However, for the last couple of years, nature was not so kind, and kids had to learn how to build snowmen from sand and grass. And yet, Christmas is always associated with snow in Lithuania. If you are visiting from somewhere that has enjoyed a winter frost, make sure to bring some snow with you!