Easter ranks high in Lithuania among the most important holidays of the year, and two public holidays are observed each year for Easter Sunday and Easter Monday.
|2019||21 Apr||Sun||Easter Sunday|
|22 Apr||Mon||Easter Monday|
|2020||12 Apr||Sun||Easter Sunday|
|13 Apr||Mon||Easter Monday|
As Lithuania is mostly Roman Catholic, some Easter traditions are similar to those in other Catholic countries as well as in neighbouring Slavic nations, especially Poland. Nonetheless, Easter is celebrated in Lithuania in many unique ways.
The Easter season begins with Lent, 40 days before Easter Sunday, and there are a number of special masses during Holy Week. Masses are held on Palm Sunday, to commemorate the Triumphal Entry of Christ into Jerusalem, as well as on Holy Wednesday, when Judas plotted to betray Jesus; on Maundy Thursday, when Jesus was betrayed; on Good Friday, when Jesus died on the cross; on Holy Saturday, the day Jesus’ body was in the tomb; and Easter Sunday itself, when He arose from the grave.
On Palm Sunday, Lithuanians make “verbos,” which are woven branches of pussy willows, leaves, twigs, and dried flowers to take the place of palm branches since palms do not grow in the far northern climate.
On Maundy Thursday, Lithuanians thoroughly clean out their houses. This is a kind of spring cleaning, but it is also thought to bring wealth and health, drive away evil spirits, and get rid of the winter fleas. The latter may indeed have some truth to it.
Holy Saturday is the day for decorating Easter eggs. They are made traditionally with natural dyes. Eggs are dipped for solid colours or dye is applied with leaves or other instruments to create patterns.
Just before Easter Sunday, the “Easter Granny” comes to leave eggs and candies for kids. Children leave nests in the garden or bushes in anticipation of her coming early on Easter Morning, but she is devious and hides the eggs all over the yard, so the children have to search for them.
Before the Easter Day dinner, it is traditional to slice a single egg and divide it among all present at the table. This “egg sharing” is meant as a sign of unity. The dinner itself will have many meats, such as lamb, ham, pork, sausage, roast duck, and roast chicken. There will also typically be Easter eggs, creamed mushrooms, salad, dried-fruit breads, honey cakes, and more.