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Manchester Lithuanian Society ‘Žemyna’ was established in 2017 and is a hub where Lithuanians can gather and indulge in culture, customs and traditions. Our aim is not only to preserve our traditions but also to pass them on to the future generations. ‘Žemyna’ organises events to commemorate national holidays, online competitions and traditional craft workshops. We also participate in different Manchester events where we introduce our traditions – festivals, language days and other city events. Find us on Facebook: @Lbzemyna.
Our first public event was the European Language Day 2018, when the Manchester Lithuanian Folk-Dance Group ‘Perkūnas’ performed three traditional dances ‘Blezdingėlė’, ‘Gyvateris’ and ‘Rolenderis’.
At the European Language Day 2019, Manchester Lithuanian School ‘Austėja’ teacher Inga ran a Lithuanian language taster session for adults where she introduced the basics of the Lithuanian Language.
In 2019 we also participated in our first International Mother Language Day. We arranged few activities for the day. We introduced the Lithuanian traditional costumes in a paper doll form. Children enjoyed cutting out paper dolls and 5 different costumes, and asked us about the meaning of the colours and of the different patterns. The most popular activity was the amber bead bracelets workshop. Amber is known as the gold of Lithuania and is still worn with pride by Lithuanians. Other activities included traditional weaving pattern making with linocut stamps and colouring in the Lithuanian tree of life. Later our children performed a legend about amber – ‘Jūratė and Kastytis”, a story about a fisherman, the sea goddess Jūratė, her amber castle that stood at the bottom of the sea and the jealous god of thunder Perkūnas.
For International Mother Language Day 2020, we showcased the customs and traditions of the Užgavėnės (Shrove Tuesday). Participants could make traditional Užgavėnės masks using paper, glue, wool and paint. The masks represent devils, witches, goats, the grim reaper and other joyful and frightening characters and are made to scare the winter away and invite the spring. The participants could also try the traditional dish of the holiday – pancakes with a variety of toppings. Lithuanian school children re-enacted the major element of the holiday – a staged battle, representing the defeat of winter in the Northern Hemisphere, between Lašininis (“porky”) personifying winter and Kanapinis (“hempen man”) personifying spring, which ends in defeat of Lašininis. Participants could also paint the traditional seaside weathervanes using paints and laser cut wooden templates. Girls really enjoyed making traditional headgear with paper bands and crepe paper ribbons.
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