The Christmas Eve And The Christmas
As the days draw shorter, Lithuanians have finished most needed chores and are ready to celebrate Christmas Eve, December 24th, and Christmas, December 25th.
Christmas Eve is very special time with the gathering of the family at the ritual meal „kucia“. This word has been borrowed from Greek „kukkia“.
Kucia denotes (pasižymi) the main food of the ritual supper, made from grain and pulse.
The evening meal begins when the evening star appears in the sky. A whhite, linen tablecloth is placed on a hay-covered table. Hay symbolizes the birth of Jesus in the manger (ėdžios) and also the hay, where the souls of dead family members rest on.
Holy wafers and Christmas bread are placed side by side in the center of the table.
There are surrounded by other foods, of which there can be seven, nine or twelve, all meatless. Twelve foods are most commonly prepared, to assure that the coming year, twelve months, will be good annd plentiful.
The traditional kucia – porridge (košė), is eaten with poppy seed milk (aguonų pienas), as are the Christmas biscuits. It is a must to eat outmeal pudding with sweetened water.
The other foods include beet soup with dried mushrooms, fish – mostly pi
When all the foods are in place, candles (žvakės) are placed on the table and lit, and the family is seated. A speacial place is set at the table for a family member who died during that year. It is also tradition to invite a poor or homeless person, or to take food to them. This behavior assures (garantuoja) that there will be happiness in the family throughout (visą laiką) the coming year.
Eating is begun with the passing around of the Christmas wafer and with wishes for each member, then all the foods have to be tasted.
Christmas morning begins with the clearing away of the Chhristmas Eve table. Christmas foods are mainly of meet, generally pork (kiauliena), cooked pig‘s head, sausages, baked piglet and ham. There is also an assortment of sweet breads and cakes. Christmas is the ancient feast of the return of the sun, and it was celebrated in preChristian times in many European nations.