Last Updated: 14th February 2022
The tradition in Lithuania, when burying their loved ones, is to dress them in their finery.
The deceased are dressed by their family or next of kin in their best clothes, sometimes special garments are made for them so they can be sent off in an elaborate funeral outfit.
Lithuanians place an importance of what the deceased are dressed in because they believe the deceased should be dressed decoratively, as if they are being sent off to a festival or party in their afterlife.
Tradition is key when considering Lithuanian funerals, provided this is the deceased’s final wishes.
When someone dies in Lithuania, it becomes a community affair, in which everyone who knew the person that has died can visit them, usually at a funeral house (which is rented), pay their respects, offer their condolences and offer flowers and wreaths.
The deceased’s next of kin present their loved one so they can be visited and professional singers are often in attendance at the presentation of the deceased.
On the day of the funeral, the priest visits the deceased whilst the closest relatives offer their final goodbye by kissing or touching their deceased loved one.
The funeral procession to the cemetery follows and is often carried out on foot behind the hearse by those grieving, particularly if the procession takes place in a Lithuanian village.
Prayers are said and words of contemplation and comfort are offered whilst the coffin is lowered into the ground before it is filled.
It is then after the burial that people visit the site, at which a wooden cross is present, to lay flowers and wreaths, with the wooden cross being replaced by a tombstone a year later.
After a burial in Lithuania takes place, it is customary for people to get together to have a dinner of grief, at which Christian songs can be heard. The dinner takes place annually with the first year including holy mass to celebrate the deceased.
Cremation does not take place regularly in Lithuania with the first cremation carried out in 2011. This may be due to the traditions and customs that Lithuanians follow.
If cremation is chosen, the customs followed during the more traditional burials may be retained. For example, the coffin may be replaced by an urn.
What the Lithuanians appear to be united in is that death can appear cult like, similar to how those in Mexico handle death.
The graves of Lithuanians are carefully looked after, with coffins being adorned by flowers and decorations.
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