Kryždirbystė išeivijoje: religingumo ir/ar lietuviškumo manifestacija
Lithuanian Emigrants in US
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AbstractArticle analyses crosses, wayside shrines and roof-poles (outdoor monuments and interior details). Its main source is the field investigation pursued by the author in Chicago in April-May 2012, as well as archival materials, museumpieces and publications in the emigrant press. The article aims at answering the question: what significance Lithuanianmade crosses (outdoor monuments and interior details) had in the emigrants' lives. Pursuing the above mentioned aim, the author reviews the origins of cross crafting in emigration, singles out the peculiar features of crosses put up in private and public space, reveals the symbolic significance of small crosses intended for the interior, reveals the dominant sculpture stories (themes) and decorative elements, as well as their symbolic meanings, in the objects of cross crafting and defines the importance of crosses (outdoor monuments and interior details) in attempts to sustain Lithuanian identity in emigration. The research revealed that crosses have little significance for the younger generation and for the emigrants of the third wave. Thus the investigation focused on the importance of crosses (outdoor monuments and interior details) in the lives of post-war emigrants (the so-called dipukai). Numbers of crosses in foreign countries skyrocketed after World War II, when a large wave of emigrants left their homeland. Lithuanians already started making crosses in displaced persons camps in Germany. The carvings fall into two groups, based on their purpose - outdoor monuments and items intended for the interior. Most of them echo the forms of crosses put up in Lithuania and are amply ornamented, thus emphasizing the carving's Lithuanian origin. Hence, already in the displaced persons camps, Lithuanian refugees made efforts to adapt in the foreign country by recreating their homeland and objects representing their home environment to help them retain links with Lithuania.
Such items as small crosses intended for the interior and large outdoor carvings became the symbol of their abandoned Lithuanian homeland, their native villages and homesteads. Outdoor crosses were put up in private space, near the houses of Lithuanian immigrants, and in the public space, near churches, community houses, in youth camps, and cemeteries. The majority of crosses, wayside shrines and roof-poles erected in the public space were dedicated to Lithuanian partisans and martyrs of the Siberian exile, as well as suffering and suppressed Lithuanian people. Crosses put up near churches were related to church jubilees, Christianization of Lithuania and anniversaries of the country's independence. In addition, crosses represented an important aim pursued by Lithuanian immigrants, namely, to sustain the identity of the young generation and glorify the name of Lithuania in the world. After the reinstatement of the country's independence, in 1990, the function of crosses as a symbol of hope for freedom is no longer emphasized and the focus shifts to the image of "a particle of Lithuania", created by the Cross. Most crosses put up in private space traditionally express the owner's as- Pirations, wishes and pledges, usually related to gratitude to God for answered prayers and granted mercies and memories of the dear ones. However, in the majority of cases, the privately owned crosses, symbolize both - religious aspirations and manifestations of Lithuanian identity. In the US, unlike Lithuania, the variety of sculpture stories and plots used in Lithuanian crosses, wayside shrines and chapels is rather small. Topics related to religion are mostly represented by the Pensive Christ, crucifix, St. Mary of the Gates of Dawn, St. Mary of Šiluva and Saint Casimir. [...]