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Carnival in Lithuania - Uzgavenes

Lithuanian Shrovetide Festival


Rumsiskes Ethnographic Museum, Lithuania

Rumsiskes Ethnographic Museum in Lithuania hosts a Shrovetide carnival every year.

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Carnival in Lithuania is called Uzgavenes (Užgavėnės), and occurs on Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday, every year. The name of Lithuanian Carnival means “the time before Lent.” This festival with pagan roots is celebrated with food and Shrovetide traditions.

Lithuanian Traditions for Uzgavenes

Similar to other Shrovetide celebrations in the region, Lithuanians celebrate Carnival with a female effigy, called More, who is paraded through town streets before being burned as a way to say farewell to winter and to celebrate springtime. In addition to the character More, two other symbolic figures, Lašininis and Kanapinis, fight. Kanapinis, who represents renewal, always wins.

Other traditions include dressing up in costumes and donning masks, playing games, and pigging out. Lithuanians indulge in pancakes on Uzgavenes, as well as other foods traditional to this holiday.

Lithuanian Carnival for Visitors

Uzgavenes is celebrated in various locations throughout the capital city, Vilnius. Gediminas Avenue and Town Hall Square are typical locations for festival celebrations. A large Carnival celebration also occurs in Rumšiškės, a village east of Kaunas. The open-air ethnographic museum in Rumšiškės hosts Shrovetide celebrations in its traditional, rustic setting.
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