ERASMUS+:  “Christmas and New Year in Lithuania”

"Studis" English, Aktualijos

Evelina BACIUŠKAITĖ

As some of the most beautiful holidays of the year are approaching, there is no avoidance of the Christmas rush and the thought of “How are we going to celebrate these holidays?”

Some of us are in a hurry to pull out the hidden Christmas decorations, others are constantly preoccupied with the list of gifts, and the third ones are making plans for the holiday. But how do those plans look like when you have to eat Christmas lunch a few hundred miles from your home and watch New Year’s fireworks in another country? “Erasmus +” students Alua Konuspay and Marion Moll are sharing their thoughts on what it is like to wait and celebrate holidays in other countries.

Alua Konuspay is a 2nd year student. She is studying English philology. Alua lives in Kazakhstan but she decided to study in Lithuania, because of geographical amenities. She said: “Lithuania is not too far and not too close. Also, it is in the EU.”

How do you feel now, since the festive period has slowly begun? 

I feel quite lonely because this year I can’t go home.

What are the traditions of celebrating Christmas in your country? 

Since Kazakhstan is a Muslim country for the most part, we don’t celebrate Christmas. We do celebrate New Year, but our traditional New Year is on March 22nd.

So, talking about New Year, maybe you have some special traditions for this celebration? Perhaps you will try your country’s traditions in Lithuania? 

Probably I will go to celebrate it by the Christmas tree in Kaunas, if that will be possible. Also, as my family is far from me, I will video call my parents.

Could you name three or more things from your experience that everyone must do during this period before Christmas and New Year?

Talking about films, I think everyone has a tradition and watches the film “Home alone”. If you don’t do it, believe me, you have to watch all “Home alone” parts.

Also, Christmas shopping is a cool thing, but my recommendation is to buy presents, food, or other things before December 25th. I learned that!

Also, if something interesting is happening in your dorm, don’t be afraid and participate, if it is safe.

Maybe you have some recommendations on how to spread festive joy and celebrate Christmas and New Year this year, considering the Covid-19 situation?

Not a recommendation, but if this year we had snow it would be just nice!

  • I think that we can spread festive joy by creating or participating in challenges on “Facebook” or “Instagram”.
  • Also, you can share some Christmas time recipes with your friends, like hot cocoa recipes.
  • Don’t forget to decorate your Christmas tree. It is a really fun activity to do before Christmas.
  • And of course, we can try to celebrate holidays on social media with some posts that are related to Christmas.

Marion Moll is a 6th year student. She is studying translation. Marion is from Germany, but now she decided to study in Lithuania, because of other people, who are living here, like her boyfriend.

How do you feel now, since the festive period has slowly begun?

I feel a little bit sad because I probably won’t be able to go home and have an opportunity to see my family for this year’s holidays.

What are the traditions of celebrating Christmas in your country?

We have similar traditions to Lithuanian people. In Germany, we have to decorate the Christmas tree. Also, we have to have a Christmas Eve dinner together and give each other presents on the 24th of December. Christmas day is full of joy and songs, which we sing together!

How do you plan to celebrate Christmas in Lithuania? Maybe with Lithuanian friends or with your country’s traditions?

Probably this Christmas I will celebrate with my boyfriend, since I don’t think that I’m going to meet other people because of Covid-19. Also, I will celebrate it with my family via “Skype”.

What about New Year, maybe you have some special traditions for this celebration? Perhaps you will try your country’s traditions in Lithuania?

Our tradition is that you have to kiss someone at midnight and to greet other people. But because of Covid-19, this year, I don’t think I will meet other people.

Name three or more things from your experience that everyone must do during this period before the Christmas? 

First of all, you have to watch “Home alone”!

Also, it is very cozy to drink hot chocolate in the evening, you can do it while watching films and with a lot of blankets in your bed.
Don’t forget to bake some cookies, because it is really cute.
And don’t be afraid of the winter cold and go for a walk.

Maybe you have some recommendations on how to spread festive joy and celebrate Christmas and New Year this year, considering the Covid-19 situation?

I think staying in touch via social media is key, to not feel alone and connect with other people, family or friends alike. 

I also think whatever tradition makes you feel normal you should still try to have here.

 

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If it still happened that you could not return home to your native country this year, during the holidays, chin up! These recommendations are for you. Here’s what you can do during the holiday season:

  1. Dedicate a cold winter evening for a Christmas movie. As recommended by the respondents and infectious with the festive spirit is the movie “Home alone”. In addition to this film, there are some other great ones you can try. As soon as the session is forgotten, jump on your computer and look for these movies:
  • Elf (2003)
  • Joyeux Noel (2005) 
  • How the Grinch stole Christmas (2000)
  • Surviving Christmas (2004)
  • The Santa Clause (1994)
  • The Polar Express (2004)
  • Jingle All the Way (1996)
  1. If you have decided to dedicate a festive period to testing your culinary skills, you must prepare the following dishes. Their recipes can be easily found online:
  • Gingerbread cookies
  • The already mentioned hot cocoa, which can be spiced with marshmallows!
  • Don’t forget cupcakes, which can be decorated with a variety of sprinkles or even Christmas drawings
  • And this may be a new thing, but if you haven’t tried it, do it on Christmas Eve. In Lithuania, we have a tradition of eating “Kūčiukai” or in English – Christmas cakes, which you can buy or make by yourself. Don’t be afraid to search for a recipe for this dish online and try a new tradition on a festive evening!
  1. Well, if you are not afraid of the cold, then safely “put your nose from home” and visit the following places that will delight you with festive spirit:
  • Traditionally – Kaunas city Christmas tree, located in the town hall
  • Spend the evening for a walk on Freedom Alley or in Kaunas Old Town.
  • Don’t forget Kaunas Castle and look how adorned it is!
  • If you want a cool Christmas photos, don’t miss Simonas Daukantas Bridge, which already shines with its decorations from far away.
  • Well, a little further, but it is also one of the most beautiful and festive places – Raudondvaris Castle Park with a lot of Christmas decorations!