Monday, 26 November 2012

Straw decorations

Straw compositions were used to decorate rooms on various occasions, such as Christmas and weddings.  Ornate hanging ornaments made of straw were the special feature of the decorative setting for bridal tables. To mark the Epiphany, stars made of pieces of straw of different length were used to decorate rooms.

The basic element of every straw composition is a segment made of 12 pieces of straw strung together with a thread.

Elena Daniene

In 1971, Elena told the News newspaper that “Christmas decorations should strive for beauty, individuality, and the true meaning of the festive season”.  But when I was a girl we were taught to make Christmas tree decorations from straw when we were at school and there used to be great rivalry between families to see who could present the most original decorations each year”.

The straw, a symbol of Christs only comfort at his birth in the stable.  The straw must be stripped cut it into workable lengths so it can be threaded into the chains, bells and lanterns which decorate the home and Christmas trees.

Elena was born February 17th, 1908 in Daukuose, Marijampolė.  She, her husband and young son migrated to Australia, and resided in Adelaide after the second world war.

Elena worked at Calvary hospital and quickly learnt English.  She later worked in a hotel and became head housekeeper and assisted Lithuanian women to gain employment.

Elena organised with P. Rutenis Adelaide’s first theatre group and was an actor and director.  She sand soprano in the choir and often sang solo parts.  She was later elected to the ALB Committee.  Elena also wrote articles for Lithuanian and English newspapers about the Soviet occupation of Lithuania.  Elena was a member and at one time, President of the Baltic Women’s group in Adelaide.
She was a great ambassador that was always promoting Lithuania.

In the last years, she and her husband moved to Port Macquarie, NSW where her son has a doctor’s practice.

She died on September 11th, 1997.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Lithuanian Folk Art

I have been doing some research for the upcoming Folk Art exhibition which will be held at the Migration Museum in Adelaide over the Christmas, New Year period.  The exhibition looks at folk art, but also members of the SA community who continued these tradition in Adelaide.

Folk Art is the inner voice of the people, a creation of the heart and the hands which manifests itself in textiles, pictures, sculptures, carvings. It is a unique and living phenomenon of national culture which reveals a nations understating of life.

Folk art is an art form based on old traditions that have developed from the practical necessities of country life.  Farmers would decorate their various utensils and women would weave material for their clothing and for decoration.  

Amongst the surviving arts which have preserved the oldest tradition s of Lithuanian folk art are Easter Eggs, woven sashes, wood carvings, and straw compositions.  

Generally, the ornamentation consists of geometric figures, zig-zags, triangles, wheels, segmented stars, suns and moons, combined with motifs from plant and animal life, blossoming flowers, rosettes, lilies, fir-trees, birds, rams, horses, and snakes.

Textiles, all prepared by women in the home, particularly linen and wool, are among the oldest and richest branches of Lithuanian folk art. These were represented in daily and ceremonial costumes, sheets, bedspreads, towels, and table cloths. 

The folk especially loved the saints whose functions were related to the pre-Christian gods. Saint George, the dragon-killer, can be linked with the ancient Indo-European warrior-god and a spring-god. As the protector of animals he became extremely popular in Lithuania.  A knight on a white steed is an emblem of Lithuania, a country whose economy in past ages was predominantly pastoral and whose people were great horse lovers. 

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Youth camp at O’Sullivan’s Beach 1965

A Youth camp was organised by the Lithuanian Church, and held from 1-10 of January. Activities held were; singing, poetry, national dancing.  The weather was pleasant and so the children could swim and play. 

Mrs Marija Intienė and Agota Leščinskienė were the camps cooks.  They were helped for several days by U. Jučienė.

Awards at the camp
Best model camper: Algis Rečiuga and Asta Rečiugaitė
Tidyness Award:  Algimantas Čiplys and Marytė Martinaitytė
Sport: Juratė Čiplytė and Kastytis Mažeika
For speaking Lithuanian all the time: Romas Šiaučiuvėnas

Teachers at camp
Birūtė Būdrienė – singing
Aldona Tugaudytė – Girls Leader
Nemira Masiulytė – Girls dormitory leader
Nijolė Bataitytė – Sport
Aldona Kaščiukaitytė – Mentor
Leonas Macpanas – Boys Leader
Leonas Vasiliunas – Boys band leader and accordionist

Camp participants
Viktoras Adutavičius
Birūtė Alminauskaitė
Kestutis Bagusauskas
Dalia Barauskaitė
Vytautas Butvila
Algimantas Čiplys
Juratė Čiplys
Asta Dainutė
Dalia Jaunutis
Klausis Jaunutis
Rūta Glainskaitė
Danutė Grigonytė
Eduardas Grigonis
Vitas Gudiskis
Romukas Kalikas
Viktoras Kaminskas
Vida Kazlauskaitė
Kestutis Kuncaitis
Rasa Kubiliutė
Birūtė Latvėnaitė
Kastyts Mažeika
Maryte Martinaityte
Jonas Mockūnas
Jurgis Petrėnas
Kestutis Pranskunas
Algis Rečiuga
Asta Rečiugaitė
Aldona Stalbaitė
Kristina Stalbaitė
Auksė Stankevičiutė
Ramute Stankevičiutė
Milda Staugaitė
Ramutė Staugaitė
Gintautas Stimburys
Ramūnas Stimburys
Romas Šiaučiuvenas
Saulius Valčiukas
Linas Varnas

Thursday, 8 November 2012

100 years young

Stefania as she appears in her
Immigration papers
Today, Stefania Binkevicius celebrates her 100th birthday.  An Adelaide resident since 1949, she is now residing in the Baltic Homes.  Born in Panevezys, Stefania and her husband Juozas, with their two children came to Australia on the good ship Nelly in September 1949.  Juozas passed away 30 years ago in 1980.

There may be something said for Lithuanian's living a long life.  I have a record of 35 Adelaide Lithuanian's who have lived 90 years or longer.  The oldest Adelaide Lithuanian was Marija Butauskas who passed away on 3 November 1988, aged 103 years.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Baltic Women banner

The same year that the Lithuanian banner was created  another was produced by the Baltic Women's Association.   Designed by Ieva Pocius, a Lithuanian artist.
The fir trees represent the Baltic landscape. The faces symbolise the women of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. They are set against a combination of the national colours of the three states. This central image highlights the individuality of the Baltic States, while stressing the essential unity in the region.

The Jubilee 150 logo honours South Australia’s sesquicentenary. It symbolises the link between the old culture and the experience of Baltic women in their new land.