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Lithuanian dances, music, literature, writers, theatre, traditions.


Title: Lithuanian folklore, customs, traditions, music. Author: Titas Last modified by: Camelia Created Date: 2/24/2009 2:54:15 PM Document presentation format – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Lithuanian dances, music, literature, writers, theatre, traditions.

Lithuanian dances, music, literature,
writers,theatre, traditions.
  • Prepared by Kaunas Jonas Jablonskis gymnasium,
    form 1a.

  • Since ancient times the dance has been inevitably
    accompanying all important events in the life of
    the people. The life of the Lithuanian nation,
    its character and morals are reflected in the
    content of Lithuanian dance.
  • Every movement and step has it purpose. They
    always mean something or show something. It is
    even the slightest change of mood that can
    expressed by movement of the dance.
  • By creating a dance, people without realizing it
    create beauty as well. Dances distinctiveness
    depends upon the originator as well - whether it
    has been created by man or woman. Lithuania has
    basically been an agricultural country therefore
    folk art primacy belonged to women and was
    related to the scale of feminine themes (for
    example, works done by women only).

  • The genre of the traditional folk dance is still
    alive. People used to learn dances from parents
    or grandparents whose lives have been still
    greatly influenced by customs and traditions and
    who mastered dancing folk dances directly from
    their parents in outdoor country parties. Folk
    ensembles, who still participate in folklore
    collection expeditions in rural areas willingly
    dance these dances.
  • Looking still further back into the history,
    dance was also a part of ancient Lithuanian
    calendar celebrations and rituals.
  • Lithuanian folk choreography can be classified
    into four groups polyphonic singing dances, ring
    or circle dances, games and other dances.

  • Polyphonic singing dances (Sutartiniu šokiai) -
    are unique archaic polyphonic songs. About a
    third of these songs have accompanying dance
    elements. The movements are quite simple and easy
    to perform. Three or four women perform a
    circular or quadrille type dance as they sing.
  • Ring dances, circles (Rateliai) - The number of
    participants in such a dance is unlimited. The
    dancer themselves sing the lyrics without any
    instrumental accompaniment. Stepping around in a
    circle, the participants perform various
    movements which sometimes illustrate the songs
    text. But usually, these are just simple
    movements repeated again and again linking
    elbows and turning, weaving circles, and other
  • Games (Žaidimai). Dancee-games are rarely sung,
    and when they are, they do not follow strict
    rhythmical patterns. These game hinge on creative
    improvisation, spoken text or dialogue, and the
    performance of tasks. Some types of games are
    quite similar to ring dances.
  • Dances (Šokiai). These dances are accompanied by
    instrumental music and sometimes singing as well.
    Separate pairs dance in loosely structured form
    space while only group follow a large plan.
    Dances consist of consecutively repeated
    movements, steps and figures.

  • If you were to ask a Lithuanian about his
    country's traditional culture, you would most
    likely hear about Lithuanian songs and love of
    singing. Only a few decades ago, most women of
    Dzukija (Southern Lithuania) still knew a hundred
    songs the most accomplished singers remembered
    as many as four hundred.
  • Songs were handed down from generation to
    generation, exchanged among villages and changed
    or augmented during these processes. Lithuanians,
    generally not known for outwardly expressive
    natures, would say that their folk songs reflect
    a broad spectrum of moods, but usually stop
    short  of extreme  joy or  deep sorrow.
  • Lithuanian songs  depict the more dignified
    aspects of family and community relationships as
    well as contacts with nature.

  • From ancient times, the guardians and creators of
    Lithuanian songs have been women, therefore it is
    not surprising that they often reflect female
    points of view.
  • Some song genres are widespread throughout all of
    Lithuania. Wedding songs are the most popular
    type throughout Lithuania several of them have
    as many as 1000 recorded variants.
  • Popular throughout all of Lithuania are
    children's songs, feast songs, and songs dealing
    with themes of youth, love and family.
  • Dzukija (Southern Lithuania) boasts the richest
    wealth of songs in Lithuania, representing many
    genres and variations of melody types. Archaic
    antiphonic songs performed by two alternating
    groups of singers were also native to this area.

  • Spring marathon of musical festivals is kicked
    off by an elite Vilnius Festival with the most
    prominent classical music ensembles and jazz
    masters from all over the world participating
    each year.
  • The venue then passes the baton to Pažaislis
    Festival of Classical and Sacred Music. Pažaislis
    Monastery, a genuine masterpiece of Baroque
    architecture in Lithuania, features central
    concerts of the festival other performances are
    commonly held in churches and abbeys.
  • The musical waves of the Christopher Summer
    Festival floods Vilnius and its environs with
    summer concerts. The festival skilfully blends
    the classical masters with avant-garde escapades,
    the cycles of piano and organ music with guitar
    performances. Altogether, festivals offer over
    100 unique performances every year.

  • Expect fireworks of jam sessions at an
    international Kaunas Jazz Festival, Blues
    Nights on the Lukstas Lake, Vilnius and Klaipeda j
    azz festivals. Excellent local jazz performers
    always make a fantastic discovery for those, who
    are unaware of the country's jazz traditions. In
    the memory of the world-famous performer, jazz
    lovers in Lithuania erected a monument to Frank
  • At least ten international folklore festivals are
    held during the summer months. Their performances
    attract crowds of spectators, dozens of ethnic
    congregations, hundreds of folk art exhibitions.
    Every four years, The Festival of Song (and
    Dance) gathers Lithuanians from all over the
    world into a colossal nationwide event of
    unsurpassed exuberance. The song festivals of the
    three Baltic countries are jointly included on
    the UNESCO World Heritage List.

  • Lithuania is not only known for amazing
    basketball players and beautiful girls. Lets
    remember the true beauty. The beauty that cant
    be reached so easily. The beauty, that is admired
    by people and protected from the cold gun to
    harm it. The Lithuanian word has the exact kind
    of beauty. The cherished language that was saved
    after so many centuries. The beauty that could
    never be replaced.
  • Lithuanias literature went through a bumpy road
    in order to survive. The banishment of books
    while Lithuania was occupied gave a motivation
    for young minds to become writers they wanted
    to show how much they have patriotism and how
    much they love their country. Those times were
    one of the roughest for Lithuanian literature.

Literature and writers
  • But now we find all the bookshelves filled with
    amazing Lithuanian literature for all people.
    Petras Cvirka, the creator of Lithuanias anthem,
    writes amazing tales for little children while
    Balys Sruoga prefers to write his experience
    while he was a prisoner in the dreaded
    concentration that is not suited for young minds.
    But some of the writers, like Salomeja Neris
    writes beautiful poetry for your children and for
    your parents as well. All of these people gave
    their best to cherish the beautiful Lithuanian
    language and to publish many fantastic books that
    are immortal.
  • Jurgis Savickis is an individualistic writer, who
    sought to make the fiction free from ideology,
    who radically modernized Lithuanian prose and its
    themes, problems, and style creator of irony,
    mask and paradox in Lithuanian literature the
  • Vincas Mykolaitis-Putinas is an autoreflexive
    narrator of philosophical outlook, the writer of
    symbolist forms and realistic psychological
    generalizations, an author of the first
    Lithuanian psychological intellectual novel, a
    creator of philosophical lyrics. Also a literary
    critic, historian and esthetic.
  • Balys Sruoga is a poet, prose and play writer,
    historian and critic of the theater. An innovator
    of Lithuanian lyrical tradition, creator of
    impressionist poetics. An author of historical
    plays. A prisoner of nazi concentration camp
    Stutthoff, author of original book about his
    experiences there.

  • Bernardas Brazdžionis is a modern neoromantic, a
    poet or oratorical engaged trend, who blends the
    folklore experience with cultural and biblical
    associations, and combines syllabo-tonical
    versification with blank verse in his poetry.
  • Kazys Binkis is the first vanguardist in
    Lithuanian literature who went all the way from
    the traditional verse to the shocking futurist
    expressionist stylistics and back to the
    tradition. A creator of verses, folklore poems,
    and plays.
  • Antanas Miškinis is a poet of modern neoromantic
    style, whose programme sought to blend the
    poetical and spoken languages, who conversed the
    folklore tradition into literary culture, blended
    the melodic experience with vanguardist poetics.
  • Ieva Simonaityte is a writer from Klaipeda
    district, regionalist and autodidactic. A writer
    of autobiographic tales and novels, she depicted
    everyday life and exceptional destinies of
    "lietuvninkai" - Lithuanians from Lithuania
  • Petras Cvirka is a realistic writer of social
    orientation, a master of colourful word. An
    author of psychological social, satirical and
    folklore novels, stories also a children writer.
  • Vytautas Macernis is a poet who died young, a
    member of anthology "The Earth". His verses are
    of tragic premonition and also of philosophical
    peacefulness. He was a poet of strong visionary
    imagination, who sought to renew the forms of

  • Salomeja Neris (Bacinskaite-Buciene) - is a most
    prominent Lithuanian lyricist who lived through
    harsh existential experiences. She was a poet of
    romantic outlook who renewed a tradition of
    melodious verse, poetical experience of nature,
    the ties with the folklore, and perfected
    Lithuanian lyrical miniature.
  • Henrikas Radauskas is a poet of individual
    poetical outlook, esthete and constructivist of
    form. He conceals his despair under the mask of
    irony. He wielded together the experience of
    neoromantics and vanguardists, created his verse
    as a hermetic and autonomous structure, kept to
    the requirements of versification.
  • Kazys Boruta was a narrator of rebel spiritual
    nature, anticonformist in his life and works. A
    writer of expressionist, energetic verse, author
    of innovative folklore novels. A versificator of
    Lithuanian folk tales, author of travel books and
    humorous stories.
  • Juozas Grušas is an author of stories on
    existential topics and plays of various types. He
    wrote according to the tragic and tragicomic
    principle. Characteristic of his works are moral
    problems and moral self-consciousness. In his
    style he blended the constructive form and the
    power of generalization.
  • Henrikas Nagys is a member of "The Earth"
    anthology and a critic in "Literary meadows"
    journal. He modernized the poetical tradition of
    folklore, described the dramatic situation of a
    poet in emigration. Nature takes a significant
    place in the expressively contrasted picture of
    his verse.
  • Janina Degutyte is a romantic maximalist among
    the new Lithuanian poets. She continued and
    modified the tradition of melodic lyrics of
    Salomeja Neris. A creator of lyrics about nature
    and of miniatures on the themes of nature.

  • The first drama play in Lithuania was performed
    in 1570, at the theatre of the Palace of the
    Rulers. Theatre company of the Vilnius University(
    Jesuits College at that time) was born in the
    same year. Currently, Lithuania has 13 national
    theatres (8 drama theatres, 2 puppet-shows, 3
    musical theatres) and 10 independent theatres and
    stage art formations.
  • Lithuanian artistic directors are well-known and
    highly respected in the world. Eimuntas
    Nekrošius, a master of philosophical and visual
    expression, has boasted a title of the best
    European artistic director for several years
    already all theatre lovers dream of seeing his
    Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello by William Shakespeare,
    or his latest work, The Song of Songs.

  • At least as famous is Oskaras Koršunovas, an
    artistic director of his own avant-garde theatre.
    In a relatively short time, his plays collected
    awards at the most prestigious theatre festivals
    all around the world his theatre company is a
    permanent participant of the Avignon Theatre
  • Apart from these, country's theatres are alive
    with many talented directors and actors, who will
    sure make your day with meaningful or joyful
    performances. Lively and colourful is the
    movement of amateur theatres there are nearly
    1,500 amateur theatre companies in the country.

  • Lithuanian Traditions are unique like any other
    country and has been the part of Lithuania
    society and culture from the medieval period to
    the modern times. Although the society has
    changed moderately yet the ancient Traditions and
    Customs of Lithuania remained the same and is
    largely practiced by the Lithuanians.
  • The celebrations of family occasions are unique
    and is typical of a particular family.
    Anniversaries and birthdays are celebrated within
    the confines of family members while some
    celebration are attended by large number of
    individuals. Generally christening, funerals and
    weddings are attended by large groups and the
    Funerals mainly draws huge crowd other than the
    blood relations and known person. Unknown people
    attends the funeral and in past weddings were
    also attended by unknown people.

  • Mothers Day is also one of the family occasion
    and mother holds a special place in family and
    society. Wedding ceremony in Lithuania is held
    very traditionally and the wedding feast is
    firstly held in the bride home and later moved to
    the grooms home.
  • The family celebration in Lithuania are
  • The Wedding Eve
  • Wedding Eve Songs
  • The Rue
  • Christenings
  • Mother's Day
  • Funeral
  • Funeral Hymns

  • Christmas Eve is the major celebration and the
    festival is celebrated according to the
    Lithuanian Traditions. Preparation starts many
    days prior to the arrival of the festival and is
    followed by home cleaning, home decorating,
    buying new clothes, giving gifts to the children
    along with the preparation of delicious sumptuous
    meal. The greatness of Lithuanian Traditions lies
    in the fact that they have maintained their
    traditions exactly the same way till date.

  • In another time, long ago lived an old man and
    his wife. Both of them had twelve sons and three
    daughters. The youngest being named Egle. On a
    warm summer evening all three girls decided to go
    swimming. After splashing about with each other
    and bathing they climbed onto the riverbank to
    dress and groom their hair. But the youngest,
    Egle, only stared for a serpent had slithered
    into the sleeve of her blouse. What was she to
    do? The eldest girl grabbed Egles blouse. She
    threw the blouse down and jumped on it, anything
    to get rid of the serpent. But the serpent turned
    to the youngest, Egle, and spoke to her in a
    mans voice-Egle, promise to become my bride
    and I will gladly come out.
  • Egle began to cry how could she marry a
    serpent? Through her tears she answered
  • -Please give me back my blouse and return from
    where you came, in peace. But the serpent would
    not listen
  • -Promise to become my bride and I will gladly
    come out.There was nothing else she could do
    she promised the serpent to become his bride.
  • After three days the family saw that every
    serpent in the land had come to their farm,
    bringing with them a wagon. The whole family was
    scared, while all the serpents began to slither
    around in wild abandon. One of the serpents
    entered the house to meet with the old man,
    Egles father, and to discuss the terms of the
    union. At first the old man hemmed and hawed,
    refusing to believe that this could be happening
    but when all the serpents in the land have
    gathered in one mans farm it does not matter how
    one feels, so he promised to give his youngest
    and most beautiful daughter over to the serpents.
    But the old man held treachery in his heart. He
    asked the serpents to wait a little while as
    quickly as he could he ran to the local wise
    woman and told her everything. The wise woman

  • -It is easy to trick a serpent, instead of your
    daughter give him a goose and send the wedding
  • The old man did as the wise woman advised. He
    dressed a white goose in Egles clothing, and
    together father and daughter climbed into a
    wagon and began their journey. A short while
    later they heard a coo-coo bird in a birch tree,
  • -Coo-coo, coo-coo, you have been tricked.
    Instead of a bride, he has given you a white
    goose. Coo-coo, coo-coo!
  • The serpents returned to the farm, and angrily
    threw the goose out of the wagon and demanded the
    bride. The parents, on the advice of the wise
    woman, dressed a white sheep up. Again the
    coo-coo bird sang
  • -Coo-coo, coo-coo, you have been tricked.
    Instead of a bride, he has given you a white
    sheep. Coo-coo, coo-coo!
  • The serpents return to the farm in great
    anger and again demanded the bride. This time the
    family gave the serpents a white cow. The coo-coo
    bird tells the serpents of the fathers deception
    and again the serpents return -but this time in a
    towering rage. The serpents threatened famine for
    the disrespect shown by the parents. Inside the
    house, Egle cried. She was dressed as was
    appropriate for a bride and was given over to the
    serpents. While taking Egle to her future husband
    the serpents heard the coo-coo bird sing out
  • -Drive, hurry, the groom awaits his bride!

  • Eventually Egle and all her chaperones came to
    the sea. There she met a handsome young man who
    was waiting for her by the beach. He told her
    that he was the serpent that had crawled into her
    sleeve of her blouse. Soon, they all moved to a
    nearby island, and from there they descended
    underground, under the sea. There could be found
    a lavishly decorated palace of amber. It was here
    that the wedding was held, and for three weeks
    they drank, danced and feasted.
  • The serpents palace was filled with guests, and
    Egle finally calmed down, became happier and
    completely forgot her homeland.
  • Nine years went by and Egle gave birth to three
    sons -Azuolas, Uosis and Berzas - and a daughter
    -Drebule - who was the youngest. One day while
    playing the eldest son asked Egle
  • -Dearest Mother, where do your parents live?
    Lets go and visit them.
  • It was then that Egle remembered her homeland.
    She remembered her parents, brothers, and
    sisters. And she began to wonder if life was good
    to them are they healthy? It had been a long
    time and maybe they were all dead. Egle
    desperately wanted to see her homeland. It had
    been many years since she saw that land of her
    birth she yearned to see it again. Her husband,
    the serpent, did not even want to listen to her
    entreaties.-Fine, he said, go and visit but
    first spin this tuft of silk, and he showed her
    the spindle.
  • Egle was at the spindle. She spun during the
    day, she spun all night. Spin, spin but it would
    not be spun. She saw that she had been tricked.
    Spin, spin but it will never be spun. Egle went
    to an old woman who lived nearby, a known
    soceress. Egle lamented

  • -Grandmother, dear heart, teach me how to get
    that tuft of silk spun.
  • The old woman told her what to do and what was
    needed for the task
  • -Throw it into a fire when next it is kindled,
    elseways you shall not be able to spin the silk.
  • Having returned home, Egle threw the silk into a
    bread oven, recently fired up. The silk went up
    in flames and in the centre of the oven where the
    silk once was there was a toad. The toad was
    creating silk, from its body. Having woven the
    silk, Egle returned to her husband pleading to
    allow at least a few days for a visit with her
    parents. Now, her husband drew out from beneath
    his bench a pair of metal boots.
  • -When you wear these down, then you shall
  • She put on the boots and walked, stomped, and
    even dragged along the stone floor, but the boots
    were thick, hard and were not at all worn down.
    Walk or do not walk the shoes will forever last.
    Going back to the sorceress, she pleaded for more
    help. The old woman said-Take them to a
    blacksmith and ask that he wear them down in his
  • And Egle did as she was instructed. The boots
    were heated well and within three days, Egle had
    worn them down.
  • Having worn the boots down she approaches her
    husband so that he may allow her to visit her
    homeland.-Fine, said the serpent, but for the
    journey you must bake at least a rabbit-pie for
    what shall you give to your brothers and their

  • In the meanwhile the serpent ordered that all the
    cooking utensils be hidden so that Egle not be
    able to bake the pies. Egle began to think how
    shall she bring in water without a bucket and
    make the dough without a bowl. Again, she returns
    to the old lady for advice. Grandmother says
  • -Spread out the sifted leavening, immerse the
    sieve into water, and within it mix the dough.
  • Egle did as she was instructed she mixed, baked
    and had the pies ready. Now, she bid a farewell
    to her husband and went out with the children to
    her homeland. The serpent lead them part of the
    way, and got them across the sea and said that
    she be no longer than nine days in her homeland
    and that she is to return at the end of those
    nine days.-When you return go alone, just you
    and the children and when you approach the beach
    then call for me
  • -Zilvine, Zilvineli,
  • If alive, may the sea foam milk
  • If dead, may the sea foam blood....And if you
    see coming towards you foaming milk then know
    that I am still alive, but if blood comes then I
    have reached my end. While you, my children, let
    not the secret out, do not let anyone know how to
    call for me.
  • Having said that, he bid farewell to his family
    and wished for them a swift return.Returning to
    her homeland, Egle felt great joy. All her
    relatives and in-laws and neighbours gathered
    round. One after another asked many questions,
    how did she find living with the serpent to be.
    She just kept describing the many aspects of her
    life. Everyone offered their hospitality, their
    food and good talk. She was in such great spirits
    that she did not even feel the nine days pass.

  • At this time Egles parents, brothers and sisters
    began to wonder how to keep their youngest
    amongst their midst. They all decided -they must
    question the children, how their mother having
    arrived at the beach would call for her husband.
    So that they could go down to the seashore, call
    for the serpent and kill him.
  • Having agreed upon this, they called upon Egles
    eldest, Azuolas and praised him. They cornered
    him and questioned him but he said that he did
    not know. Having failed they threatened the child
    to not tell his mother of their actions. The
    second day they led out Uosis, then Berzas, but
    from them too the adults could not get the
    secret. Finally they took Drubele, Egles
    youngest, outside. At first she did as her
    brothers, claiming to not know the secret. But
    the sight of rod frightened her, she told all.
  • Then all twelve brothers took their scythes with
    them and went towards the sea. Standing at the
    shore they called-Zilvine, Zilvineli
  • If alive, may the sea foam milk
  • If dead, may the sea foam blood...
  • When he swam up, then all the brothers fell to
    chopping the serpent to pieces. Then, returning
    home, they kept the secret of their deeds from
  • Nine days passed. Egle, bidding farewell to all
    the family and friends, went off to the sea and
    called for her serpent.

  • The sea shook and floating towards Egle was foam
    of blood. And she heard the voice of her beloved
    husband. -Your twelve brothers with their
    scythes cut me down, my call was given to them by
    our Drebule, our most beloved daughter!
  • With great sorrow and thundering anger Egle
    turned to her children and said to Drebule
  • -May you turn into a willow,
  • May you shiver day and night,
  • May the rain cleanse your mouth,
  • May the wind comb your hair!
  • To her sons -Stand, my sons, strong as trees,
  • I, your mother, will remain a fir.
  • As she commanded so it came to be and now the
    oak, ash and birch are the strongest of our
    trees, while the willow to this day will shake at
    the slightest whisper of a wind for she quaked
    before her uncles and gave away her true father.