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Published: 30 october 2019 12:19

Ghospitality, or why Lithuanians don’t celebrate Halloween?

Žvakių jūra Vilniaus kapinėse is paukščio skrydžio
Luko Balandžio / 15min nuotr. / A sea of candles in a Vilnius cemetery

Halloween is widely celebrated across the Western world, but in some countries – like Lithuania – it never really took off. It’s not that Lithuanians don’t like dressing up or gorging on sweets. It’s just there is already enough of ghosts, witches, trolls and mischievous devils in other Lithuanian celebrations.

The latest promotional video from Lithuania tries to answer the questions of “Why Lithuanians don’t celebrate Halloween?” by showing how Lithuanians interact with their very much alive spiritual lore throughout the year. Come Midsummer – they try to pry a magical fern flower from the night hags. On Christmas Eve, it’s advisable to go to sleep early, unless you want to share a meal with your long dead great-great-grandparents. And you would be surprised to know who Lithuanians invite to the dinner table on Mardi Gras (hint – it usually carries a scythe). They’re that ghospitable.

See for yourself: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ayT58n87pYY

The message behind the campaign is simple – come to Lithuania any time of the year and you’ll get to experience something quirky and perhaps even otherworldly.

Here are just some of the examples:

October 31st – Spend the night on the Hill of Crosses. The hill adorned with more than 200 000 crosses has been named one of the creepiest places to spend the night by both National Geographic and The Guardian. If you’re not that brave (admittedly, most of us aren’t) to come there at night, you can still visit during the day, and even add another cross to the growing collection.

November 1st – All Saints’ Day. Take a stroll through one of the many hundreds of Lithuania’s park-like cemeteries for an unforgettable experience, with tens of thousands of candles illuminating your path. And if you think cemeteries are too creepy, good news for you - thousands of candles are lit to form the River of Souls in Kaunas, Lithuania’s second largest city.

December 24th – Hear animals talk on Christmas Eve. According to local folk tales, you can hear farm animals speak on the night before Christmas. If that’s not your cup of eggnog, choose to discover the equally magical Christmas Town in Vilnius.

February 25th – Release your inner imp. Dress up as witch or a warlock, ask strangers to give you pancakes and dance the winter away together with all of Lithuania.

June 24th – Search for the fern flower. On the shortest night of the year, join Lithuanians in the search for the mythical fern flower guarded by witches. If you manage to snatch one, you’ll be granted access to immense wealth. And if you fail (as most have, to be honest), you’ll still get to experience a party taking you back to pagan times.

One of the main reasons why Lithuanians are so quirky is the sheer number of beliefs and traditions they kept going since ancient times. Being the last European country to convert to Christianity, Lithuania has a lot to offer to travellers searching for authentic experiences. From “fishing” for amber on the Baltic shore to making bronze jewelleries based on 8th century sketches – the variety of activities visitors can take part in is truly impressive.

To learn more about Lithuania, visit www.lithuania.travel.

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