Living traditions

Living traditions

Large fire in the cemetery, shading the light on a cavity in an old pine tree. Gravestones reflect a peaceful light from the fire. Men, sitting around the fire; talking quietly... Women, after having prayed for a while, have left, but the men remained. If someone would ask them - why did they stay; what is on their minds? They might respond: we need to get used to this place. We might soon come back here for the eternity... Ten evenings - from the first of November to the tenth - the fire is lit in the middle of the cemetery. Ten evenings it gathers people around, who prey, talk, absorb the peacefulness of the fire and candle lights. Sometimes for an hour, sometimes for two...

What century does this description represent? What country? Now! In Lithuania! This is how the people of Margionys spend their evenings around the All Saints Day; next to the fire in the cemetery. Maybe this is a secret of the village? Shall we not speak or write about it? Or maybe we should let everyone know about this link between the living people of Margionys and those who had already left and will never be back? And please, be patient; do not hurry to transcribe this ritual into the books of ethnographers. Let it still live, remain a cultural preserve, a living tradition from the past...

The director of the "Barn Theatre" is buried in the cemetery of Margionys. The Barn Theatre is famous due to its grassroots origin, having been at the centre of a cultural life in the village and still maintaining elements of its old tradition.

Part of the text is from a publication produced by DzŇękija National Park: "Kapiniškiai. Rudnia. Dubininkas", Marcinkonys, 2005.