The members and guests of the Knights of Lithuania Council 143 in Pittston celebrated Kucios, the Lithuanian vigil of Christmas Eve, on Saturday, Dec. 8 with covered dish and goodies at St. John the Evangelist Church Hall in Pittston.
This meal is similar to the Christmas Eve tradition that is celebrated in their homeland of Lithuania.
Before the meal could begin, as tradition states, the first star must be seen by the youngest member of the group Carly Warnagiris, accompanied by her Aunt Helen Roeber spotted the lonely star. The star signifies the birth of the newborn child. As the star was sighted, the large memorial votive candles on the tables gave a soft glow to the atmosphere that made this occasion more special.
On the table was a plate of Plotkeles, the Lithuanian wafers brought in by Dave & Mary Ann Cipolla.
Also on the table was dry hay covered by a snowy white linen cloth, with a crucifix on it to help us recall how the Christ child was born. Upon the sighting of the star, all those present sang Silent Night to welcome the birth of the baby.
Monsignor John Bendik, pastor of the Parish Community of St. John the Evangelist, blessed the food, and blessed the Plotkeles. Each person at the table shared their Plotkeles with each other, wishing all the many blessings of health and happiness for another year.
The toast of wine, and the homemade vyritos, a special liquor, made by Peggy Yanklunas, was given in Lithuanian and English, by the incoming president, and chairman of the Kucios, Helen Roeber, and outgoing president, .
LINKSMU SVENTU KALEDU IR LIAMINGU NAUJU METU,MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR.
It was now time for our Kucios meal to begin.
No less than 12 dishes were served, all meatless, to commemorate the 12 apostles.
The dishes had specific representations for our Lithuanian ancestors.
Salted herring depicted the unhappy things in life. Dark bread signified the plentitude of sustenance during the coming year. Fish signified Christ as represented by the first Christians in the Catacombs. Boiled potatoes represented the humble lives we must be ready to lead. Sweet wine stood for the sweetness and joy experienced by the coming of Christ.
The menu for this special holy event was similar to that of our ancestors: Barsciu Sriuba, red beet soup made by Martha Warnagiris; Zuvies, fish, from Helen Roeber and Jean Mihalick; Virtos Bulves, boiled potatoes, made my M. Pam Smith; Silke, herring, Lithuanian Cheese, The Kapusta, cole slaw, by Helen Roeber; Grybai, mushrooms by Eleanor Bellanco & Marilyn Fitzgerald; Pierogies brought by Helen Karpovich; red beets & onions, from Martha Warnagiris and Rita Craze; Halushki, by Peggy Yanklunas; peas brought by in by Ann Yanklunas; Juoda Duona, rye bread by Janice Perfetto; Stiklas Vino, wine by Mary Ann & Dave Cipolla; apples brought by Jean Williams; Arbata, tea, Kava, coffee by Karen Flannery; Kiselius, cranberry jello by Diane Azaravich; American pierogis & sweet potatoes brought in by Robert, Gina and Carly Warnagiris; poppy seed and nut rolls by Ron and Mary Clair Voveris; Vegetable Koshi made by Dennis & Janet Palladino; plus many other desserts and goodies.
The Lithuanian theme still prevailed in the beautifully adorned church hall. In the center of the hall, right beneath the beautiful chandlier was a Lithuanian Christmas Scene created by our Cochairman Martha Warnagiris, with many of the artifacts coming directly from Lithuania by Martha, and her deceased brother Robert. There were also lovely decorations on the tables.
A short program followed the Kucios Meal. It began with a reading about Lithuanian Christmas Traditions by Karen Flannery. Martha Warnagiris introduced the guests, Monsignor Bendik, Rev. Richard Cirba, Fr. Dan Yenkevich, and Fr. John Bolger, Deacon Jim Cortegerone, Dennis & Janet Palladino, Tom and Michaeline Sinkavitch, Ann Yanklunas, Karen Flannery, Ann Conte; Allen Azaravich, Ann Yeager, Frances Voveris, Ann Kaprowski, Theresa Warnagiris, Al Cabral and Stanley Bellanco.
Martha led the group in singing of the Christmas Carols. She was accompanied by Ron Voveris on the organ.
The next Christmas reading The Night before Christmas, was lovingly read by our youngest member, Carly Warnagiris.
We had installation of officers for the New Year, followed by presentations of gifts by Mary Ann Cipolla. The next reading, an interesting old poem, about the old St. Casimir's Lithuanian Choir was given by Ron Voveris. It brought many memories to those present.
We were honored to have our Lithuanian priest Fr. Dan Yenkevich read a poem in both Lithuanian and English.
Remarks were given by Jean Kapochus Mihalick, president of C 143. Fr. Dan, and Fr. Bolger.
Special guests, Tom & Michaeline Sinkavitch and Dennis & Janet Palladino, had a surprise Lithuanian raffle, in which they donated and gave gifts they purchased in Lithuania.
Benediction was given by Fr. Richard Cirba, our spiritual moderator. The group ended the Kucios with the singing of the Lithuanian and American national anthems followed by the organ playing of Ron Voveris, with Silent Night.
It took many hands to once again celebrate our traditional Lithuanian Kucios.
Special thanks to Monsignor Bendik, our Chairman Helen Roeber, our Co-chairman Martha Warnagiris, and all the wonderful committee members and guests without whom we could have not had a Kucios.
LINKIME GEROS SVEIKATOS DAUG LAIMES IR DZIAUGSMO ATEINANCIAISMETAIS. WISHING YOU GOOD HEALTH AND LOTS OF HAPPINESS AND JOY FOR THE COMING YEAR.