Oct 14, 2013

How to test is Baltic amber real?

When there are so many fakes in the market, it becomes important to be able to test amber. There are few ways to test amber, but i will write here about few most popular and best known ways to do that at you own home.

Salted water test.
This is one of best known ways to test Baltic amber, but it is considered to be not exact, because density of amber varies a lot: from 0.93 to 2. Fresh water is measured 1. This means some amber pieces float even in fresh water (that usually is white amber), some sink in salt saturated water (closer to 2 usually is amber with earth inclusions). 
If you have purchased jewelry, it most probably has thread, plastic or metal clasps, maybe some other details. Those details might make Baltic amber to sink too. 

UV test.
Baltic amber fluorescence (shines) under UV light. This test does not work on heated amber, and as i have noticed, often does not work even on natural, not heated cherry color amber - change under UV light is not so drastic as other colors especially if that cherry amber is opaque. So if amber does not fluorescence under UV light, test it in the following way.

Hot needle/pin test.
This test is also called as "smell test". 
Baltic amber ancient fossilized tree sap. Comes from trees which no longer grow on  on the surface of Earth. Baltic amber is 40-60 million years old. During that time tree saps have changed and became natural polymers, that means plastic made by nature. Each color of amber has its own smell. This is because each color of amber has been formed in different environment, with different chemical compounds in the soil, different temperature, different time of exposure to the Sun and air and so on. So, basically each amber piece has slightly different smell, and color's smell can be very different from each other.
In order to test, heat a needle or steel wire, touch with amber piece and smell what comes out.

White and very light yellow Baltic amber has a lot of amber acid (up to 8% from it's mass). For this reason it's smell is a bit sour.
Honey amber gives smell which is close to pine sap or colophon smell.

 As scientific books about Baltic amber say, clear light Baltic amber has formed inside of tree, usually under the bark of tree. It had gone through different processes than other colors of amber for this reason it has a bit different chemical and physical properties than other amber colors. It fluorescence under UV light, but when tested with smell test it smell more like plastic than pine sap. The more clear it is the more plastic it will smell. If clear light amber has, for example, slight honey color like in photo above, it will have hint of pine smell and a hint of plastic smell.  In the photo with light yellow unpolished amber, beads looks a bit cloudy, but in fact they are transparent and clear with slight shade of yellow, just matte surface makes to look them so. So they should smell like clear amber.
Hot temperature (when smoke starts to come out) enhances smell of plastic. In other colors pine smell is strong enough to overcome plastic smell, but in such light clear amber testing temperature is very important. So do not burn it - touch with hot metal and smell it right away.

Heated Baltic amber has weaker pine/colophon smell than not heated amber. It looks like, that some of that smell goes a way during the process of heating. But when you have such amber, try harder to feel that hint of pine smell. 
Scientists say, that natural cherry color also was formed by heat, most probably in forest fires. for this reason intensity of depends a lot on shade of amber and for the same reason it does not shine so dramatically under UV light.. 

In one of the videos in Youtube I saw woman saying that amber is a bit gummy, my face expression was like that: o.O ... because copal might be gummy due to young age (1-5 million years old) and process of polymerization did not went so far in it like in natural Baltic amber (age 40-60 million years old).
Copal can go through most of the tests which amber goes through, but usually it is in more gummy state than amber is and has more sweet smell that amber does. Amber's hardness is similar to nail hardness, so it is quite hard and not gummy for sure.

Air Bubbles
If you see air bubbles in stones, you know that it is glass fake. This does not work on Baltic amber. Some amber pieces do have air bubbles and from those bubbles scientists got information about what atmosphere was on earth 40-60 million years ago. So if you see bubbles in Baltic amber, it does not mean, that amber is fake.

To conclude..
The only perfect way to test amber is costly tests in laboratory. If you test amber at home, you will need some knowledge... :)

How to make Baltic amber teething necklace?

P.S. I am sorry for mistakes - English is not my native language.

Jun 27, 2013

How to make Baltic amber teething necklace?

I get many question on Etsy about how to make teething necklace, how to fix clasps and so on.
This is blog entry about which i was thinking for almost 3 years, but somehow always had "more important" things to do. But now decided to do it :)

I am sorry for photo quality, it is evening here, and I though it is better like this, than no photos at all. To make it one step harder decided to make centered necklace with tiny pendant.
So what do we need for teething necklace?
1. Beads (Beads in my shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/amber4you?section_id=6976664)
2. Thread  (Thread in my shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/amber4you?section_id=10378317)
3. Clasp (Screw clasps in my shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/amber4you?section_id=10378317)
4. Paraphin or bees wax candle (soy wax is not too good here)
5. Scissors

 Light up a candle and wait until wax melts. Dip a thread in to it. I prefer to harden ~0.7" of thread, but experiment and choose your length. While wax is melted, roll thread between your fingers to get rid of access wax and to make waxed thread as thin as possible, because it might be too thick to get through bead or clasp.
 Put one side of clasp on thread. I prefer to put it so, that screw part would face end of thread. I suggest to check if both sides of clasp will have big enough holes that thread could go through. Clasps are factory made, but holes in them differs.
Make double knot (one knot upon other knot).
Cut extra thread, leaving around 1-1.5mm (~0.05") of thread, that it would not untie easily.
 Harden knot. You might do it with nail polish, special glue or wax. I prefer wax.
 Fix knot inside of clasp by pulling thread from other side. I prefer to screw in that white screw part, to check how it looks, to press knot in to place and to check if it will not untied inside of clasp. Cut generous amount of thread. It usually  needs  0.8 yd - 1.1 yd for 12"-13" knotted necklace.
 As I am making necklace with pendant, I need to divide beads in to 2 groups - one side and other. Also some beads should be left as extra beads, because it is possible to brake them, there might be a need to use few beads more on one side than on other and so on.
 You might place a knot between clasp and first bead, this time i did not do this. Harden other side of thread as the first one. You might have to repeat this several times, because hardened end gets soft when gets some pressure (for example when placing bead with some force). Place a bead.
 Start knotting.
I mostly use thick thread which hardly goes through holes, so i need just 1 knot between beads. That saves a lot of work but sometimes creates trouble, because some beads somehow manage to get smaller holes than others and thread does not go through them. I leave such beads and knot another necklace with thinner thread and with smaller holes in clasp and beads.
 When knotting, I have noticed, that i needed longer necklace than i have beads, so adder 4 rice shaped beads in to necklace - this is how creativity gets in to this world :)
Then checking how many beads should be added to second side to make pendant in the middle
 It looks it is enough.
And here it comes - most important and most difficult (at least for me) part in whole necklace making process - placing second part of clasp.
Put a clasp that it would face end of thread with screw-in part.
 Make a knot, and  when finishing it, slide it as deep as you can in to clasp. This is not necessary, but i find it to become more secured.
 You may use nail polish, special glue or liquid glue as i use this time. Get ready white screw part, because you will have to act quickly after placing glue inside. Hold 2 last beads and clasp firmly, that clasp would stand so as you wish it to see at the end. Place tiny drop of glue inside of clasp. Screw in white part. If there will be too much glue it will get out of clasp, one possible way to solve this is to glue on last bead to clasp. If you leave thread with glue, it might brake, because it will become as plastic in width of thread.. Also if you place too much glue, clasp might crack or brake. If you will place too little glue, thread will get out and you will have "broken" necklace.
If you will do this part wrong you will possibly have to remake necklace from 0, or if you will be making necklace without centered pieces, you may simply remove last bead or two, loosen up some thread, harden it, place a new clasp (one with glue inside is not usable any more) and do next steps.
 After placing white part inside you'll see, that thread inside took some place, and white part does not fit so well as before - it's normal.
 When glue hardens, place another side, to check how much of spare white part you have.
 Cut with scissors or nail clippers some of white screw in part.
 Check how they match together.
 Thats all! :) Necklace is already made!
 All designs and ideas are up to you. You may mix various colors, stones (for example turqouise), hazelnut wood beads - those are healing materials from nature too!
And if you think this is too much trouble to make one, you always can find already made teething necklaces for sale :)
Check up my shop for Baltic amber baby teething necklaces:

If you have any questions - do not hesitate to ask!. I will answer faster on Etsy than here :)

P.S. I am sorry for mistakes - English is not my native language.

Mar 20, 2013

Which baby teething necklace is best for my baby?

This is one of the questions which i get quite often. I though it would be good idea to write a blog entry which would help to make a decision.

There are couple things which are important when deciding what you need: surface and color.

There are few kinds of teething necklace's surfaces: raw, unpolished, polished, heated.

Raw Baltic amber necklaces have untreated beads. Beads are selected, drilled and made in to necklaces. "Sharp edges" give massage which increases blood circulation, which help for healing process and to distribute substances which are absorbed through skin. They have most of surface, so easier than other bead types releases amber acid. You may read more about amber acid in following blog's post:
                                                                  Raw Baltic amber

Unpolished Baltic amber is such kind of amber where amber is shaped ir "sharp" edges are treated, but matte surface is left. Such kind of beads has smaller surface in total than raw amber, but it usually touches skin with more surface than raws. For this reason such amber is a bit less effective or has same affect as raw amber.

                                                        Unpolished Baltic amber

Polished Baltic amber is such kind of amber where surface is polished to shiny state. Polishing might be done in abrasive way (abrasive-polishing dust, sand paper) or by heating. Such amber has less surface in total, harder releases healing oils and amber acid, but looks much more beautiful. I have got many letters which wrote that such amber helped to solve various issues, so it has healing properties for sure too. 
                                                             Polished Baltic amber.

Heated  Baltic amber is such kind of amber which was effected by heat to change some properties like: to enhance color, to change color, to increase clearness, sometimes heat might be used as a way to polish. Most (not all) cherry color amber is heated. I suggest to search for sellers who inform is amber heated or not.
The more amber is heated the lower healing properties it has. So slightly heated amber has slightly lower healing properties than polished amber. Amber heated to the point where it will change color (like in cherry amber case), has lowest healing properties from all ambers.
                                                                    Heated Baltic amber

Cherry color Baltic amber.
As mentioned before, most of cherry Baltic amber is heated. Looks amazing, has some healing properties, but there can be and more effective colors to heal.

                                                            Cherry color Baltic amber

White color Baltic amber
It is almost opposite of  cherry color. It contains so much amber acid, that when burned as incense it has sour smell. Less than 1% of Baltic amber is in white or very light yellow color, so for this reason and for healing properties this color is very valued. White Baltic amber is always polished or unpolished, because in raw state it is in dark yellow or brown color due to surface oxidation. 
 White color Baltic amber

Yellow color Baltic amber.
Cloudy or opaque ambers usually have a bit higher healing properties, but clear or semi clear yellow amber is something what gives amber name "Sun stone" - it looks like pieces of Sun. Yellow is color of energy, and everyone needs energy especially if there is health problem. So yellow amber is universal amber.
                                                               Yellow color Baltic amber

Brown color Baltic amber . 
Brown amber is very good for various problems but it especially helps body to remove what is unnecessary to it. So if there is digestion problems, toxins in the body, skin blemishes and so on, brown amber is what you need. 
                                                              Brown color Baltic amber

Red Baltic amber.
Red amber gives more energy to become active, trust in you own abilities. Helps to man's and boys reproductive organs. So it is balanced for grown up people, unless you child needs encouragement or healing powers for boys reproductive organs.
                                                             Red  color Baltic amber

Black Baltic amber.
Jet black amber is something what people in ancient times avoided. It was used to guide soul safely in to afterlife and in black magic. People did not worn black amber but had somewhere at home "in case it would be needed". Children under 10-11 years old should not wear any black stones, amber especially. Many people forgot this knowledge and are selling black amber teething necklaces as something cool, for some sellers money is something more important that the results for the customers.
        Black color Baltic amber (few beads are cherry, that can be seen from shade which they drop)
Amber color Baltic amber.
We do not have such name of color in our (Lithuanian) vocabulary, so we add those pieces to yellow, brown or red ambers depending on shade.

My personal favorite necklaces are unpolished or raw necklaces in white, yellow or light brown/honey colors. When my friends ask for polished necklaces I recommend yellow & white necklaces, somethimes not heated honey color necklaces.

I hope this blog entry will be helpful to you!

Baltic amber teething necklaces at my shop:
My Baltic amber shop: amber4you.etsy.com

It might also be interesting for you to read:
What is amber and Baltic amber?
How Baltic amber can be used for healing and what is amber acid?
What is amber for? (some information)
About ambers of the world and copal
Who am I? (about me)

Jan 19, 2012

Mother goddess.. reincarnated.

One of the oldest objects of worshiping on earth was Mother goddess. Woman, mother, the one who gives birth to everything what is alive, the one who gives food, the one who takes care of everything.

In my ancestor's lands, now known as Baltic lands mother goddess was main figure in all times, even today. Woman was always special here, each woman. It is known as before Indo European came with their male pantheon, in almost all Europe mother goddess was the main figure of worshiping and there ware matriarchy as a social structure.

My ancestors at least 7 generations before me are from tribe named Žemaičiai [Zh e m a i tʃ i a i], tribe know for stubbornness and keeping of traditions. Even today some of Žemaičiai call them selves not Lithuanians (as country is named under tribe which united many tribe to fight against christian sacred war, which was the longest in whole Europe's history sacred christian war - crusaders war). We feel that we have separate identity than other Lithuanians. Even our language has such dialect that other Lithuanians (other 3 of 4 tribes which are under name of Lithuania today) are not able to understand it easily. We have kept many of old traditions and worshiping of mother goddess is very strong today. As we are Christianized now, mother goddess reincarnated in to Maria. I think most of the calling Lithuania "Land of Maria" is influenced by my tribe (Žemaičiai).

As we had oral tradition and Christianity tried to cover up everything carefully, there are informational gaps today in many traditions of my land. Some says we had runes as writing system, but they ware destroyed together with our sacred places. But it is fact that for a long time our old pantheon of gods ware in the territories of churches, even today it is possible to find statues of our old gods in territory of few churches. Funny isn't it? 600 years from the time our land is Christianized, and old traditions are still alive.

The goddess which was closest with it's image to Mother goddess is Žemyna [Zh e m i: n a], we call "earth" as "žemė" [zh e m e] (can't find sound in English which would fit the last sound of Lithuanian word). So name Žemyna comes from word of žemė (earth), or žemė (earth) comes from Žemyna, I am not sure which comes first. Word "žemė" can be translated not only as "earth" but "soil" too.
I am from family with unknown number of generations who worships Mother goddess. My grandmother always prayed to Maria, my mother did that too.. Jesus is somewhere around, but the one who is asked for help is Maria. As my mother made little altar at her home with photos of her fathers and my father's fathers, Maria also took the main place in it (strong believe in help from ancestors is alive today too, even she does think it is christian thing and I know it is not).

So who was Žemyna?

Above: Goddess Žemyna

Žemyna (Žemė, Žemelė, Žemynėlė, Žemynėlyna - other names of her) is a goddess of earth, soil which gives all the fruits, goddess of everything what is alive. She is goddess of Lithuanian tribes and Prussia. She comes from "Mother of the gods". She has brother Žemėpatis [Zh e m e p a t i s] and they together take care of fields, fruits given by earth, all plants, animals, home and everyone who lives at home.
Mother of gods is said to be the same as Prusian Seva, Latvian's Žemė motina (mother earth), Slavic Živa [Zh i v a]. Goddess of earth where know to all tribes which worked in a fields.
Dievų motina [D i e v u: m o t i n a] (mother of gods) is said to be changed Mother of universe, goddess Lada [l a d a]. For Indo Europeans nations Žemė (Earth) was not only mother, but also wife of heaven god. Žemė gets it's fertility from the first thunder of spring, god Perkūnas [P e r k u: n a s] given water - rain. At that time falls the axe of Perkūnas, which has special power of fertility. And Žemė becomes pregnant. Also fertility of Mother Earth is connected with Sun and Moon. Earth can be fertile only if she has contact with heaven, that means to be warmed by Sun shine (Saulė [S a u l e] - she) and Moon shining (Mėnulis [M e n u l i s] - he), getting rain (lietus [l i e t u s] - he) or dew ( Rasa [ R a s a] - she).
This contact is very seen in art.

Above Maria - Mother goddess and Baltic cross, also known as Sun cross.

In art is usually seen sun, moon, stars, rain motives, also Sun warmness and fire symbolising crosses, plants, blosoms, fruits, animals.

Žemyna is goddess which helps for man who works soil. The bad farmer was the one who didn't worked well soil. Goddess did not blessed such farmer, didn't help to grow crops, gave one misfortune after another.
The Earth (Žemė maitintoja - the earth which gives food) from great respect people kissed on various occasions. Most often they kissed before going to bed, when wake up, starting various works. When kissed the earth chant was "Iš žemės parėjau, į žemelę nueisiu" ( i came from earth i will come to earth). It is very similar to christian "You came from dust, you will become dust".
Earth was kissed and on important moments of life, like girl who is getting married and leaves home of her parents. Before whole family was praying on it's knees, then kissed earth with hope that the one who leave will come back safely.

In old times people gave sacrifices to Earth. Most often they did that when starting various works, and the finishing them.. like sowing crops and taking them off, starting to built house and finishing it, starting new village and so on. Before journey starting to work with soil spilled some beer on earth (beer and the pot was for special occasions) and then drank beer themselves too. Such spill is sacrifice for goddess Žemei (Earth) and god Žemininkui, as a tradition to give drink for Earth.
Also sacrifices ware made when some got birth or someone died.

How Mother goddess influences today's society?
Woman was always the one who takes care of home, man was the one who takes care of fields. They helped each other as they could. So woman was never lower than man in my lands. Well Christianity made some influence and there ware some families where man as the stronger one was over the "sinful" woman, but it was not main course.
Today we have president who is woman, leader of army is woman and prime minister is woman. So 3 of 4 main places in government is taken by woman. Not many "modern" western nations can say about themselves something like this.
Western culture has it's influence on system of values and often working at home, taking care of home and family is something "lower" or "not work". But there are some changes in this.. i believe in bright future :) More and more young people are willing to find out more about our old traditions and to make them alive again.

Lithuanians, with all tribes which unites this name, are one of the fasted dieing out nations in the world. Many young people leave country for "better life" in other European countries, USA, Canada and so on. So if we will not die out, we might be the hope of earth for surviving this "Earth killing age", with our respect for earth, with out philosophy and attitudes.

Be blessed by Mother Earth, from which you came, to which you will come.

Dec 28, 2011

Herb healing - Lithuanian/Baltic tradition today
You may watch video here


Yes. It is in my native language, but if you are interested in herb healing, you may feel the spirit... As many ask me about traditions in my land, i though maybe someone might be interested in this video.

Some thoughts from the film...
"I have married then i was 22 years old. After 2 years tree have killed my husband and 4 week old baby left for me. I was doing everything around house, was working in the fields, because i had to live somehow. I was healing myself just with herbs. Meadows are full of herbs.. Forests are full of herbs"

"Our parents didn't new any chemical medicine, they have healed themselves with herbs"
"This meadow fed us and gave us money too. Oooj.. [like oh] There was time when we all came here.. we ware singing, rolling on the grass.. not like now.. somewhere one granny somewhere another.."
"This Saint-John's-wort [high herb with yellow blossoms], as everyone says, it is  from 99 illness. Saint-John's-worth is just from one illness - nerves. When man doesn't have nerves [nerves/stress problems] he is healthy and doesn't have any illness."
"There wasn't any coffees, any teas, and if there ware then you weren't able to buy them [too high price]. Not like now, old or young drinks coffee.. in those times you drink some kind Saint-John's-worth's tea, then you change [herb].. "
"In those times children ware not born in hospitals, granny of the village helped. When baby if born and is not calm, these nerimnikai ware used [high herbs with bubble shape violet blosoms]. Washed with those nerimnikai."
I know those herbs.. various herbs.. maybe 40 kinds of them"

"When i was giving birth for second child i have had clinical death. After that i got vision... reading from palm, diagnosing correctly from palm, ability to search people who disappeared... I guess it is connected with nature, with god"

" And all this plant will be used up [the one with pink blossoms in a swamp]. There are so many people who ask for it.. to heal leukemia, to heal cancer.. It has to be washed up.. only man hand can pull it, it is rooted so deeply and so nicely"
"Herb healer have to be honest with himself, with the one who has illness.. to pick up herbs at the right time, to give right herbs and they will works for sure."
"Today's medicine is coming back to herbs very fast, because it is safer medicine, works well and you may use longer without harming other systems"
"Time comes to every person to decide he wants to heal himself with herbs or with drugs. With herbs you may heal a lot. But again it depends how deep is the illness. You may stop or even heal such serious illness.."
[Storm]"Sweet-flag have to be collected in a storm, when water is turbid. Everything in nature in moved, so sweet-flag gives best healing properties to man"

"Thank you the Fire, Gabijele [ancient Baltic fire goddess] the beautiful one.. that we worked today so well, that you helped me, that ointments are so good..."
"Good day [Sveika as greeting, but also means healthy] forest the green one. How are everyone of you are living today.. birds, my herbs.."
"I was going with my grandmother for the herbs, in such way i have learned to recognize herbs, how to collect them. When i was a student i haven't picked up herbs, but later life has forced me to come back to herbs. You think i was like this all my life? While i have not got ill i wasn't here, it didn't care for me"
"When we ware going with the elders for herbs, we ware making such skudučiai [making instrument from herb stem] that not to be lost somewhere [away from others]. It is very good for children who have various illnesses with lungs, while you blow, you blow out all illnesses"
"The most important is where man lives.. what he breaths, what he eats, what he drinks. The surroundings is very important.. and that changing surrounding.. it does not change itself, man is changing or has to change it."
"I doubt if anyone would be able to talk me away from herbs.. it like dependence upon them now."
"I can not imagine any man near me.. where you saw married witch? [we are not afraid of them here, if they have knowledge we respect them.. there ware not even one inquisition fire in our lands]. When i was young i had a man, even not one. And now.. now i live with my herbs, with my thoughts, with my works.. i could stand here near tree all day"
"[diagnosing girl] I will give you infusion of the snake, your will put 8 drops on sugar, will not feel any taste"

I am from herb healers family.. my mother was healing me with herbs.. her father was well known herb healer... This short movie is about my culture and traditions in my lands... I hope to come back to nature soon too... even civilization gave me master degree in university... I do not wish that my children would grow up in town.. I wish they could feel the grass touch the tree, drink tea in a meadow, to see wild animals outside... This is true life, life without stress.. not a life of bio-robot :)

Dec 23, 2011

Christmas time - Lithuanian traditions

24th of December is "Kūčios" [K u: tʃ i o s], this is the main part of Christmas time.
25th of December is Kalėdos [K a l e d o s] (couldn't find exact sound in English which would sound like Lithuanian "ė") first day. When we translate "Christmas" in to Lithuanian, we translate it in to "Kalėdos". One of my friends who is all in Yoga said, that Kalėdos word comes from Vedic "Kali Dao", like from nowadays Hinduism deity Kali. This has a meaning, because Lithuanian language is old and has many similar words with Sanskrit. Also fits with a meaning of re-birthing nature.

Many people celebrate Christmas, not many remembers that it is time when longest nights ends and days starts to become longer. This is why here in Lithuania we have a lot of ancient traditions, because winter solstice was an important event (despite the fact that Christianity became main religion 200-300 years ago ineveryday life)

Of course now here in Lithuania we became "civilized" and old traditions are being forgotten more and more each year. Especially in last 20 years when we became independent from Russia and got more western (American?) influence.

Christmas is a time, when all family gather in parent's home. As people after WW2 ware forcibly moved to towns some old traditions ware changed, lost or lost their meaning.

Forest tree.. Decorations as food for animals.

Christmas tree. The most important Christmas time symbols in the world. According to traditions Christmas tree was decorated just on evening before Christmas (24th of December). It was decorated outside, if forest was near Christmas tree was decorated in forest. Decorations ware not from glass or plastics like now :) They ware apples, carrots, other vegetables. It was a special time for animals, so food was for animals too. Now we are "civilized", maily living in towns and so on... We cut of trees and bring back in to homes to see how slowly they die and to be happy to have one at home. We put shiny toys on Christmas trees and are happy about forgetting that while these toys ware created, earth became poluted a little more.. This is called to be civilised. Nature is maily forgotten. Some remembers, but most of people feel good to forget about such traditions.

Vegetarianism on Christmas evening (24th of December). NO meat was eaten on that day, only fish. As we live in country where winters are cold, not so much food is around in winter (just as much as you prepare in summer), people ware working a lot of physical work, so strength was needed.. So many Lithuanian did eat meat, and does it today. I think today we eat more that in old times. But it was believed that on that evening you may even hear animals talking and understand what they talk, but you have listen them in secret, that they would not notice you. So it was evening when animal ware very special to humans.

New Years. Under our old tradition 25th of December was like new years. This is because of day light coming back.

Kūčiukai - traditional meal for Christmas.

Food on 24th evening.*There must be 12 meals on table like there are months in a year or at least 9. These numbers have magic meaning in our folklore.
*We have special meal "kūčiukai" [K u: tʃ i u k a i] which is made from flour, poppy seeds, some additive (like honey or sugar, eggs), eaten with milk. It is said that the day naming "Kūčios" comes from this meal, which is eaten just on this day.
*One "must be on table" is something from fish.
*NO meat.
* It was tradition to invite lonely relative or neighbour to the table, if his health is too weak to come, to bring him some food from table.

Other traditions:
*Before "Kūčios" all main works must be done, all debts give back. Before that day you have to say sorry for the people you done something bad, or to someone you have hearted. Otherwise all next year you will be in debts and will not get along with people.
*It is said that on the "Kūčios" day you should stop thinking about I, about your "ego" and to think about "we".
*In the morning of "Kūčios" all family member do the most important works. After this they go to wash themselves. This is not only for washing off the dirt, this is also rituallic washing from not only body but and dirt wash of a soul, also washing off evil forces which may effect health or life.
*Table of Kūčios is wonderful place to remember all your family. Not only those who are alive, but those who are dead too. An empty place is putted on the table for "all those who are not today with us", for living who are aways and for dead who are away too. This tradition is from ancient times when people believed that spirits of ancestors lives together with the living ones. Also this tradition is still living with even in Christian tradition of Lithuania.
* Before eating the eldest man of a family stands up and gives a talk about gratefulness that there is food on table, that family members are here, that someone is away, but is not forgotten and so on.

There are many many sortileges for this day (24th), but about them... maybe some other time :)

Nov 5, 2010

I love and respect my ancestors. I love the music which old times left for us...
All photos are from lithuania.

Same url: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xboEFjJtOlQ