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Linksmu Sventu Kaledu!
Sun Dec 23, 2012 1:17 pmForum Host
In Lithuania Christmas Eve is a very important holiday. It is a fast day, meaning that you do not eat anything but a light meal until Christmas Eve dinner - Kucios - at which 12 dishes are served, to commemorate the 12 apostles. This is a meatless meal - meaning, no meat, no dairy, - so fish, dumplings and vegetable dishes are the stars.
The dinner is started after the first star appears, with a prayer, and then everyone shares "plotkeles" - a thin wafer that is like a Communion wafer but postcard sized. Each person offers his own plotkele to each other person and breaks off and eats a portion of every other person's plotkele.
The name "Kucios" comes from kucia, a wheat dish of wheat berries, ground poppies and honey, that is traditionally served this evening. We never had it, I don't think wheat grains were much available 50 years ago at the local grocery, but I have since created an updated version which I think my grandmothers would have approved of, Savory Kucia - Wheat Berry Salad
The table is strewn with clean hay, over which a tablecloth is spread. At some point in the evening everyone pulls out a straw. Whoever has the longest straw will live the longest.
My dad said that as children they would sneak out to the barn at night - according to tradition, the animals spoke on Christmas Eve. Somehow they never caught them at it.
Another tradition that my aunts did not admit to was that the unmarried daughters would run stark naked around the fields that night - this was to ensure fertility of the fields the next year - gotta love agrarian societies!
In the US the rules on dairy are relaxed for many families, mine included, but dinner is still meatless. I would serve something like this,
Lithuanian Mixed Vegetable Salad (Darzoviu Misraine)
Periyukas (Lithuanian "pirogies") filled with cheese or mushrooms - or some of each! These are now called virtiniai by most
(from "Gera Viruve" blog)
Lithuanian Herring Salad With Onion and Tomato (Silke Su Pomidor
kisielius - cranberry or lingonberry fruit pudding
aguonu pienas su slizikais - poppy seed milk with pastry nuggets
wine - definitely traditional!
well, and then whatever else makes up 12 dishes! It's been a while since I have made this myself, since there are just the two of us - usually we join with other family
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