• August 15, 2014
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The celebration of Blessed Mother of the Herbs in the Vilnius

In the Polish folk tradition the celebration of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary was called the feast of Blessed Mother of the Herbs or Our Lady of the Herbs. Every year, on August 15, the faithful worship Mary as the Mother of God. On this day in churches herbs and grains are blessed. The cult of the Virgin Mary in Vilnius is very widespread, and Blessed Mother of the Herbs  is celebrated in accordance with long tradition. On Friday, in many places in the Vilnius region will not only solemn masses take place, but also folk festivals with singing, dancing and refreshments.

Feast of Blessed Mother of the Herbs in Turgeliai (Šalčininkai region) is perhaps the most important ceremony of the year. At the Mass, which on this day has extremely formal setting, come not only present parishioners, but also those who come from Turgeliai and from the surrounding villages. After the ceremony at the church, the colorful procession goes to the stadium next to P. K. Brzostowski Secondary School in Turgeliai. Flock of carts come there from all the villages of the parish of Turgeliai, and on them are presented all which arose from  fields and forests, and what from the gifts of nature could conjure housewives. Tradition will be done again this year: Feast of Blessed Mother of the Herbs in Turgeliai will begin at 9:00 am with the Holy Mass in the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary church, and at 12.00 the fun will begin at the school stadium. Bands will be singing in Polish, Lithuanian, Belarusian, there will be the most beautiful wreaths and refreshments.

In Pabarė (Šalčininkai region) this year the celebration of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary will be unique because of the 80th anniversary of the consecration of the local church. The temple was built thanks to the great involvement of residents, each resident in some way contributed to its construction. On 21 October 1934 Archbishop of Vilnius Romuald Jałbrzykowski devoted the church in Pabarė built according to the plan of the architect Jan Borowski. The events that took place 80 years will be reminded by a photographic exhibition, which will be housed in the Pabarė during the anniversary of the consecration of the church. The Holy Mass will begin at 12:00, and after its completion – the concert of Brass Band of St. Moniuszko School of Fine Arts Šalčininkai, of Song and Dance Ensemble “Solczanie”,of Katarzyna Zvonkuvienė and Kasztanowy Choir of Vilnius region.

In Kowalczuki (Vilnius region) – as every year – on August 15 will take place Family Fest “Hello, Holy Assumed into Heaven”. The idea of organizing the celebration, gathering residents of Kovalczuki and surrounding areas: families, friends and acquaintances was born in 2000, when the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary was declared in Lithuania as a day off from work. This year the festival will be held for the 15th time. After the Mass in the Divine Mercy church in Kowalczuki, on the square in front of the offices of the district authorities of Kowalczuki the fun will begin: sport competition, contests, lottery, activities for children, the concert of local bands and the band “Knyszynianki” from friendly district of Knyszyny in Poland. During this year’s festival family in Kowalczuki the local inhabitants for the first time will take into the hands the booklet “District of Kowalczuki in the Vilnius region invites”, released thanks to the efforts of the employees of the district authorities. The festival in Kowalczuki begins at 15.00.

Solemnly in the church and humorously on festival of Blessed Mother of the Herbs will be celebrated in Karvys. In 2013 St. Joseph Parish in Karvys, Community of Karvys, Branch in Karvys of Multifunctional Cultural Centre in Niemenczyn first undertook to organize such celebrations of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The celebration with the participation of the residents had the charity goal: they collected money for a cross on the new cemetery in Karvys. Participants liked the celebration so much, as one of the initiators said in an interview with “Wilnoteka”, President of Community of Karvys Bozena Stankiewicz, so this year was also decided that after the service in the church it is worth it to stay for some time at the square next to the church and spend the non-working day by having fun together. “Family above all” – called the concert the organizers, which will start at 15.00. As the year 2014 has been declared as the Year of the Family, during the feast marriage, which survived in harmony with each other for many years will be honored. An important event for people from Karvys will also be opening of a children’s playground.

The celebration of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary has a unique setting in Trakai. Mass in the Polish language in the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary church in Trakai will take place at 10.00, and the mass in the Lithuanian language will start at 12.00. All parishioners, regardless of what language they pray, will walk through the streets in a joint procession. On the day of Our Lady of Assumption in Trakai begins 3-day Cabbage Fair. As at every fair, there will be stalls with products of local folk artists, performances of folk, party, but as the name suggests, the main role plays cabbage. So if someone wants a cabbage soup, on this long weekend has to go to Trakai.

Translated by Patrycja Pawłowska within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.

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