Shrove Tuesday is a folk celebration not connected with any church rites and only its time is defined by the church calendar, for it depends on the time of Easter.Easter is a moveable feast, from ancient times it is connected to the moon calendar. The earliest Shrove Tuesday date is celebrating the end of winter.Visitors to Vilnius Academy mentioned that at the beginning of 17 century, Shrove Tuesday carnival walks lasted three days, they were similar to carnivals taking place in other parts of Europe.Information about Shrove Tuesday happenings in the country side shows that in the first part of 19 century, carnivalers dressed up to imitate different nationalities and trades.
These rituals took place in ancient times: 1 eating enormous amounts of food 2 ridding through fields and constant visiting 3 carting around male and female idols and murdering them 4 masqueraders shams 5 the struggle between winter and spring, wrestling between Fatso [ a.k.a. Kanapinis ] 6 pouring water over everyone 7 casting and drawing lots On Shrove Tuesday attention is paid to the weather in order to be able to foretell the weather for spring and the rest of the year.
Others gave the tail to the shepherds so that the pigs would be well herded. Starting with Thursday, every day till Shrove Tuesday was called a fat day, people ate much meat. The most common Shrove Tuesday tradition was to ride in fields, villages and go visiting neighbors and family.
One did not sit at home if a good flax harvest was expected.
The ancient food of that day is hodgepodge, [ a.k.a.
iupinys ], made of peas, beans, grits, potatoes with pigs feet, tail or head. It was said that if he while eating this hodgepodge, was first to find the tail, he would be the first to marry.
Shrovetide masks of folk ensemble ''Sdviai'' from Vilkavikis. Shrove Tuesday not a holiday but is singled out as the day which puts to end meat eating and the time of merrymaking Tuesday before Lent.