Thursday, December 31, 2015

Su Naujais Metais

For the past two years I've been writing about the New Year's traditions of some of my ancestors homelands, including Germany and Scotland. Today, I'm wandering over to my husband's side of the tree and his paternal grandparent's homeland, Lithuania.

On New Year's Eve, families usually spent time together and ate traditional foods. Fortune-telling, or guessing, games were played. If there was tension, reconciliation was attempted. Little alcohol was consumed.

Fireworks over Vilnius, Lithuania; courtesy of VisitLithuania

It was important to get up early on New Year's Day. If you did not, you would have a slothful year with no luck. If you were behind in your work, you would late all year. If you heard a lot of birds chirping, you would have many visitors over the coming year and it would be a fun one. If you borrowed something on New Year's Day, you would experience shortages throughout the year.

Lithuanians used to watch the weather carefully. If New Year's Eve was cold, Easter would be warm. If the night cold, clear and star-filled, the summer would be a good one. If the morning dawned foggy, there would be many deaths. If there was a blizzard, farmers would harvest a bumper crop. Huge snowflakes meant the cows would give a lot of milk.

Today, the end-of-year traditions have lost some of their importance in comparison with Christmas celebrations. The first day of the new year is spent with family or close friends at home or in a restaurant. People still hope the first piece of news they hear will be good as it reveals the type of news they hear throughout the year.

And since 1919, 1 January has also been Flag Day. To celebrate, a solemn ceremony, in which the flag is replaced, is held on Gediminas Field in Vilnius, the capital.


  1. May the first news you hear in 2016 be good news! Happy New Year Schalene!

    1. Thank you very much, Laura. So far so good! And a Happy New Year to you as well.