Categories: Dagnija Bramane
Christmas is traditionally connected with going to church. In our family, everybody is Catholic and so we all together go to church. When we return from the church, it is the eve of the religious festival. Traditionally, we do observe Advent, we try to behave silently, it is the time of contemplation. Nowadays, the Advent wreath with the candles has been introduced, but there was no such wreath in the past. In the past, people usually went to church on every Advent Sunday and no symbolic wreaths were made; we did not have such a wreath either. Now we do make the Advent wreath; it has been introduced from other countries. The tradition, which has been preserved from the olden times, is to go mumming. I have participated in this custom, too. It is a very interesting event.
How does this mumming proceed?
Participants choose their masks or their images, their attires. Traditionally the masks include a bear, a goat, a wolf, various animals, then there is a death, and a crane. And it is the whole procedure how people make their masks, there are traditional mumming songs, which we learned, the songs have particular couplets, lyrics and games. The idea is that when we gathered in one company with the masks, we visited the villagers’ homes. The idea was that we did not simply go and ask for something, we brought joy to those people. Having come to someone’s home, we either sang songs or played games with their children, and, of course, we asked some payment for that. We did not really ask, but people themselves offered that, treated us to something. The whole process is very joyful – with a lot of songs and doings. Nowadays, there are a lot of people who don’t know anything about this tradition, they do not understand who those people are, why they have come, what they want. But older people do understand what’s the matter and usually kindly open the doors and invite into the yard or the house and join the games. However, there used to be the cases that people did not open doors and pretended not being at home. You see, that is an interesting event.
Researcher: Dr. philol. Valentīns Lukaševičs, Daugavpils Universitāte