Jewish Character in Lithuanian Shrovetide Processions an Example of Stereotypes

photo: Vytautas Daraškevičius

by Paulius Gritėnas

Israel’s ambassador to Lithuania Amir Maimon Wednesday issued a brief press release saying the long history of the Jews of Lithuania, destroyed monuments, names and works are only now being restored.

“We are moving ahead slowly to lead Jewish history out of the dark. And there’s a long road ahead of us… So far Jews in Lithuania are remembered mostly in a different way, as grotesque Shrovetide masks,” the statement read [in paraphrased translation from Lithuanian], going on to pose the rhetorical question of whether it isn’t time to adapt traditions in such a way they don’t offend the ethnic minorities of Lithuania.

Shrovetide is one of the oldest holidays in Lithuania and once upon a time was called Ragutis. It’s not surprising it contains an abundance of stereotypical thinking and visual codes demonstrating the simplified way we perceive our environment and people who are different in that environment.

Full story in Lithuanian here.