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AbstractThe aim of this article is to define and specify the manifestations of femininity, which are apparent in folk songs. Researchers studying Lithuanian folk songs poetic have long ago displayed tendency of regarding songs as an exclusively feminine way of expression, characterized by lyrical, emotional, feminine style, and describing things that matter mostly to women. The author of this article pays special attention to the thematic of Lithuanian folk songs, characterized by distinctive descriptions of wedding, which are common in all the folk song genres. The songs seem to be concerned solely by wedding, and not by any kind of family life, or by relations between other family members. In order to legitimate the prominence of femininity in the folk songs, it has become common to try and establish direct links with the pre-Christian culture, and especially with its female "principle". Some mythological beings, still distinctly present in Lithuanian folk narratives, are also related to the same "principle" by certain researchers. Yet it must be acknowledged, that neither implicit mythological world nor its relics can be discerned in Lithuanian folk songs, at least in the form as wc have them now. Parallels could be drawn with Latvian folk songs, in which the idea of mothers - governors and rulers of the world - is especially prominent. The image of woman as life giver and creator, originating in Lithuanian polyphonic songs (sutartinės) could be regarded as partly corresponding idea. Therefore the question is raised, whether there is sufficient ground to speak of female gender typology in Lithuanian folk songs, which should by definition be oriented at the core of femininity - motherhood (cf. poetical descriptions of woman's womb and furrow). But there immediately is a contradiction: the songs do not describe mother 's concerns about her children at all.
Thus the discourse emphasizing the idealization of fertility and sacral female energy in the songs partly loses ground. Nevertheless, the author of the article fully agrees with the concept of songs as certain arena of ritual vision, wherein the ritual act itself is never registered, only the related feelings, forebodings and reflections are depicted instead. In the songs, it is possible to contemplate the transformation of ritual act into lyrical reflection. In order to give motivated interpretations of the folk songs content, the context of ancient Lithuanian rites will always be necessary. Unfortunately, it is very scarcely documented in historical sources. Further, an assumption is made in the article, of femininity in Lithuanian folk songs having come from the wedding drama, conducted in the spirit of passage rites, which had always been centered upon woman. In numerous cultures, female initiations coincide with marriage. Thus, the nostalgic idealization of the youth, which is never to come back, found its way into the songs as well. And youth is first and foremost associated with women in the songs. That is why the descriptions of the married life in the songs acquires such a dark and negative color.