Lithuanian funeral rites: from tradition to modernity
This paper presents a detail analysis of Lithuanian funeral rites (end of 19th
21st century) in the context of rites de passage. The work is based on field investigation
materials gathered by the author in all ethnic regions of Lithuania. By analyzing this
narrative folklore and ethnographic material, the author attempts to find answers to
some questions: What are the differences between the traditional and post-modern
society funeral rites? What are the new forms of funeral rituals in the 21st century?
What are the new commemoration forms in post-modern Lithuanian society?
In Lithuanian traditional funeral rites a special collective role was ascribed to
village community. This institution helped a dying person to prepare himself for his
death, performed lavation, sang lamentations, and played an important role of mediator
between the sphere of this world and the world of the dead. Nowadays Lithuanian
funeral rites become more individual and anonymous. Today's death culture operates on
different levels, includes details from various times, beliefs and cultures. For the past
two decades the funeral rites had undergone transition for different reasons:
globalization and industrialization process, changes in religious practices, increased
secular observances, immigration and migration process, and a shift from modern to
post-modern funeral rites.
Lithuanian funeral rites, tradition, modernity.