Lithuania, like other countries around the world, sets aside one day each year to honour mothers. However, in Lithuania it is an official public holiday celebrated on the first Sunday in May.
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Although there is a higher percentage of men in politics and business, women lead the families, performing much of the work at home. They are often the ones that attend church regularly and become involved in social projects to better the communities where they live. She is revered in Lithuanian society, looked upon to be a model to her children. The moclute, or grandmother, in Lithuania is looked upon as strong, knowledgeable and steeped in tradition.
History of Mother’s Day
Celebrations of mothers and motherhood existed as far back as ancient Rome and Greece who held festivals to honour mother goddesses. In Rome, it was a three-day festival, known as Hilaria, dedicated to their mother goddess, Cybele while in Greece an annual spring festival celebrated Rhea, the wife of Cronus and the mother of many Greek deities. In the United Kingdom, Mothering Sunday, which fell on the fourth Sunday of Lent, was seen as a day when faithful followers would return to their mother church, or the main church closest to their home in order to honour the Virgin Mary as well as their own mother. Children brought gifts, flowers and a special cake known as simmel.
Traditions and Celebrations
Traditions for celebrating Mother’s Day vary around the world. In Lithuania, mothers are honoured with a cake resembling a bouquet of flowers. This is normally followed by a large family meal. In some areas of Lithuania, people celebrate the ancient religions which worship natural forces. In these religions, the day honours Perkunas or Thunder God. The celebrations are held in forests and led by priests known as Kriviai.
Mothers’ Day is a public holiday in Lithuania with businesses closed so that employees can spend time with their own mothers. In most areas of the country, Mothers’ Day is a day for family celebrations, with family gathering for dinners, picnics and other festivities. Mothers may be given a day of pampering and rest while others in the family take over her regular chores.