Mardi Gras in Trakai

Event date: 2023-02-19
Event place: Town Hall Square (Karaimų str. 5)
Coordinator: Trakai district municipality
Categories: Free admission For children Festivals Open air

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The fight between Winter and Spring or no way out without pancakes

Winter, winter get out of the yard! Tired of cold and darkness, say the people in disguise and everyone who gathered to celebrate the end of winter in Trakai. Mardi Gras (Užgavėnės in Lithuanian) is a winter festival that symbolizes the banishment of winter in order to summon spring as soon as possible. It’s the time when the post-Christmas fun ends and the period of pre-Easter concentration begins.

The festival is full of not only creative solutions but also folk humor. The main highlights of the festival are the fight between Porky and Hempen man, the burning of Morė, masks and pancakes. All of this symbolizes the struggle of an unwilling-to-leave Porky i.e. winter with spring people are longing for i.e. Hempen man. Porky portrays satiety and overeating. He usually is fat, thick, sometimes with a piece of salo in his mouth. Hempen man embodies Spring, he’s skinny, ragged with a long stick in his hands to banish Porky from the village. Hempen man and Porky are pushing, threatening each other while fighting until Hempen man defeats the fat Porky and he runs away. It’s important that people would see the fight, and, then, speak loudly that spring has finally defeated winter.

Another symbol of Mardi Gras is Morė, it symbolizes fertility as it’s burned at the stake to be reborn later. Burning Morė “banishes” accumulated evil, all the illnesses, anger and, of course, boring winter. It’s believed that with Morė the darkness burns as well, and life becomes better, easier and more fun. Having rolled in the snow, one will be healthier and happier.

If there is snow during Mardi Gras, one needs to go sleigh riding. There is a race on the day of Mardi Gras: If one goes further than others, grain will be better, flax fiber will be longer. Much needs to be done during Mardi Gras to make the upcoming time better: eat a hearty meal (seven to nine or even twelve times is advisable), play, find out one’s fortune, and go sleigh riding, but, most importantly, to spent time with everyone and experience the joy of communion.

The program will be published later ..


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