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Užgavėnės – a Different Kind of Pancake Day
Falling on Shrove Tuesday, Uždavėnės is a unique Lithuanian holiday filled with delicious pancakes, character duels, raucous humour, music, effigy burning, and more!
One of the most unique festivals of the year falls on Shrove Tuesday (or Pancake Day as it’s more commonly now known). Coming off more like a variation on Western Halloween traditions than a more subdued religious feast, the main event of the day of the day revolves around the burning of an effigy of winter (the Baltic pagan deity of Morė, who is associated with winter's death, rebirth and dreams ). The fire symbolizes the vanquishing of the winter, and the welcoming in of spring. To accentuate the already slightly creepy pagan vibe are the masks and costumes that participants wear in order to represent the battle between Lašininis ("porky lad"), the personification of winter and Kanapinis ("hempen man"), the personification of spring. In fact, you’ll see a phantasmagoria of devils, witches, goats, and even the grim reaper himself.