Though kūčiukai, the tiny Lithuanian poppy cookies baked for Christmas Eve (Kūčios), have traditionally been hand-made for the holidays, 64 percent of Lithuanian consumers prefer buying these cookies from supermarkets instead, according to a survey performed by the RAIT survey company.
Kūčiukai cookies
© Shutterstock nuotr.

Older generations in Lithuania – namely, those between 65 and 74 years of age – are the most likely to make their kūčiukai at home. Ethnologist Gražina Kadžytė says that buying mass-produced kūčiukai defeats the purpose, as a hand-made bowl of kūčiukai captures the holiday's true spirit. According to her, old Lithuanian traditions dictate that the youngest members of the family had to participate in the preparation of kūčiukai. According to the survey, however, many of those who consume store-bought kūčiukai include families with young children.

According to the survey, 18 percent of respondents serve kūčiukai made by friends or family members on their Christmas tables, 12 percent of them buy them in markets, and 11 percent buy them from bakeries.

“The younger generation is growing up on mass-produced kūčiukai, which are just ordinary cookies. Children no longer have the joy of baking kūčiukai at home. This is why, seven years ago, we decided to put this tradition back in the children's hands,” said Malsena CEO Gintautas Migonis. “Every year, we learn to bake kūčiukai with Lithuanian schoolchildren. We remind them of our holiday traditions and the meaning behind our holiday dishes. The real meaning of Christmas Eve and kūčiukai is sharing and being together. We encourage all families to engage in their traditions and bake kūčiukai at home."

Baking kūčiukai
Baking kūčiukai

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