Shrove Tuesday – The Funniest Festival of The Year

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Užgavėnės–Shrove Tuesday is definitely the funniest and important Lithuanian festival. It is taking place in a lot of countries, but I will share with you how is it in Lithuania!

Užgavėnės is a winter festival, which symbolises end of the winter and spring‘s beggining. The main symbols of this day is masks, pancakes, the burning of More. This day is celebrated 47 days before Easter, so the date varies from February 3 to March 9 each year. Actually, the celebration is pagan, but later closely associated with Christianity.

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Only easy works are traditionally done during Shrove Tuesday. You are eating a lot, and having fun the whole day. It is said by the people that if you are working hard during this day, then you will have no rest for the next year.

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It is believed that if you eat well and full during Shrove Tuesday, you will be strong all year round. According to the tradition, on this day you should eat 9-12 times.

Pancakes are the main dish, it even was in the past. Flour pancakes are baked more often. Grate potato pancakes, which are one of the traditional Lithuanian dishes, are made a little less often.

Every person, who comes to your house on this day, needs to eat.


Masks are usually made of tree bark, sheepskin or other fur, animal skulls. Easier ones can be made from paper, cardboard, and other materials. Some people starts to prepare their masks in summer.

Usually the masks had the features of an old, ugly person – the nose is highlighted and asymmetrical eyes are made. Sheepskin, horsehair are used for hair, beards and mustaches. This kind of masksare tied to the head with a string. No matter how terrible they look, they are all smiling!

If the person doesn’t have or doesn’t want to wear a mask, they can smear his face (mustache, beard, cheeks) with charcoal and beetroot juice. Colors can be changed on purpose.

The clothes need to be unusual, bright, funny. It depends who you decide to become on this day. Sometimes women are dressing up as men, and men as women.

The burning of More

More is a deity of fertility who is burned in a bonfire for later rebirth. With it, the accumulated evil is “driven out”, and at the same time – the winter.

It’s usual, that is that day you will have guests. we don’t celebrate Halloween, so Shrove Tuesday is like this to us. Kids are dressing up, and going to every house of the neighborhood, with prepared songs and dances. After the short “show” the owner of the house has to give money, candies or pancakes, as a reward. For me, it was the funniest day of the year!

Autor: Emilija Lideikytė

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