|A Lithuanian holiday|
|Written by OHmommy|
|Monday, 24 December 2012 00:00|
A year ago we celebrated Grandma's life, during Christmas time, with her antique collection of cookie cutters. This year we celebrated her by learning more about the culture she identified most with.
We started our day at Cafe Smilga, an authentic Lithuanian restaurant just outside of Chicago, for lunch. I ordered the cepelinai or zeppelin (recipe here) which were large dumplings filled with meat that Grandma often spoke about making with her church for certain functions, during her childhood in Cleveland. Although the staff spoke English, we were the only non-Lithuanian-speakers in the restaurant and it was a delight to hear young children and elders speak in a different language while in the comforts of their local cafe.
We strolled through a Lithuanian grocery store (on the day before Christmas Eve which I would not recommend as the entire population was purchasing food for the next day - mostly fish dishes like in Poland). Although neighbors of Poland the written language is so vastly different that we spent quite a long time trying to figure out what everything was. So fun! If you've never visited a ethnic grocery store I highly recommend it. We are big fans of popping into random ethnic grocery stores to do a bit of exploring. It's like traveling to a different country for free!
As always, on one of our beloved ethnic fieldtrips, we found something that the kiddos wanted to buy. They are getting pretty good at identifying things they would like, without any knowledge of the language. It's hard to say "no" when they ask to try something new. On this trip we purchased a Shakotis cake (the packaging read "tai vienas seniausis tradiciniu lietuvisku konditerijos gaminiu, puosiantis vestuviu, jubilieju ir kitu svenciy stala") and although we have no idea what it is, we can't wait to try it because everyone walking out of the grocery store had one in tow. We also found this and got three. Pretty sure that a cute bear on the packaging means that it's pretty good, no?
With full bellies and a trunk full of new Lithuanian foods to try, we jetted downtown to The Museum of Science and Industry to view the "Christmas Around the World" exhibit. A tradition since 1942 the grand lobby of the museum is full of decorated trees from all over the world. It was beyond spectacular. Each tree was decorated by volunteers from Chicago's ethnic communities to represent their various cultures and holiday traditions.
The kiddos most favorite tree? Hands down... the Lithuanian tree! And I agree. The entire tree was dressed in beautiful, detailed, hand-made, straw-like ornaments and we stood before it wondering how to duplicate such beautiful ornaments. Adding this Christmas craft on our list for things to do next year, for sure.
We all shared stories about Grandma throughout the day while celebrating her memories and her heritage. I'm pretty sure that I'm going to have to fly the family to Lithuania to top this day, next year, because this year we did it right. A little Lithuanian holiday, on the day before Christmas Eve.
|Last Updated on Monday, 24 December 2012 01:37|