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Type of publication: Straipsnis / Article
Author(s): Petkūnas, Darius
Title: The introduction of secular rites of passage in Lithuania – communist alternatives to Christian rites
Other Title: Sekuliarių perėjimo ritualų įvedimas Lietuvoje – komunistinės alternatyvos krikščioniškoms apeigoms
Is part of: Soter : religijos mokslo žurnalas, 2013, nr. 47(75), p. 93-112
Date: 2013
Keywords: Komunistų partija;Sekuliarūs perėjimo ritualai;Vardynos;Krikštas;Santuoka;Laidotuvės;Bažnyčia;Communist Party;Secular rites of passage;Name-giving ceremony;Baptism;Marriage;Burial;Church
Abstract: During the early years of Khrushchev’s administration the Lithuanian Communist party determined that its anti-religious programs had not succeeded in driving a wedge between the Lithuanian people and the Church. Newborn children were still being baptized, couples were still exchanging nuptial vows before Christian altars, and priests were still accompanying their earthly remains to the cemeteries. It was clear that a different approach was needed. The party must supplant these Christian rites with effective secular and atheistic alternatives. In 1957 a secret decree Shortcomings of the Scientific Atheistic Propaganda in the Republic and the Means of its Improvement stated that the Party and Young Communist League had mistakenly allowed the Church to intrude into the lives of the Lithuanian people on these significant occasions, and new rites were needed to be formulated to render the Christian rites of Baptism, Marriage and Burial superfluous. In 1961 the name-giving rite (Lith. Vardynos) was implemented to replace Baptism at the “Aušra” collective farm near Garliava. The center of attention was the name-giving ceremony in which the parents and sponsors of the candidate were exhorted to raise the child as a loyal member of the new societal order. At the same time marriage rites for use in civil registry offices were being developed employing folk traditions and native dances by ethnological groups. The central of this ceremony was the oath taken by the couple in a solemn atmosphere. Secular funeral services were designed to be led by local communist officials, supported by local cultural organizations and brass bands, to celebrate the passing of a member of the community. Central emphasis was to be placed on the role of the deceased in paving the way to the perfect communist society. Only with the passing of time would uniform rites be formulated. The reports of the commissioner of religion indicate that the solemn objectives of the secular rites were not always suitably solemn. Name-giving ceremonies were often marred be excessive drinking which started in the hall and continued throughout the day and into the night. Marriage ceremonies were closely controlled, but after the signing of the certificates it was not always easy for the officials to maintain control. In many cases local communist officials and brass bands failed to show up at secular funeral services and they became dismal affairs. Local Christians often openly criticized families which had bowed to official pressure by allowing their loved ones to be buried without a priest. To the chagrin of the commissioner it was not uncommon that even young communists would participate in Christian funeral rites. In general it was only the secular marriage rites which achieved a great measure of success. Registry offices became attractive marriage palaces. The name-giving ceremonies continued in common use, however in secret many couples still had their children baptized. Despite the financial incentives offered by the government the secular funeral services were seldom observed. Few Lithuanians were willing to forego the services of the clergy, and those who did so were often severely criticized by their neighbors. Some Lithuanians did indeed lose their connection with Christian Churches, but Lithuania as a whole never lost its identity as a Christian nation.
Straipsnyje nagrinėjamas sekuliarių perėjimo ritualų įvedimas Lietuvoje, jais Komunistų partija siekė sukurti alternatyvas religinėms krikšto, santuokos ir laidotuvių apeigoms. Aprašomos šių ritualų pirminės formuluotės, pastangos juos išpopuliarinti, šių ritualų turinys ir kliūtys, su kuriomis partija susidūrė įdiegdama šias apeigas. Straipsnyje taip pat tiriama to meto visuomenės reakcija į šias sekuliarias apeigas, turėjusias padidinti takoskyrą tarp jos ir Bažnyčios.
Appears in Collections:SOTER: religijos mokslo žurnalas / SOTER: Journal of Religious Science 2013, nr. 47(75)

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