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AbstractIt was in 1932 that the Kupiškėnai Wedding was staged for the first time in Lithuania during the outing in the township of Pagiriai. The initiative to organize it came from the enthusiasm of E. Jonušienė, E. Varatinskienė, A. Gudelienė. The actors themselves seleeted the texts for their personages by sitting down and writing words that came to their heads as memories of ancient wedding customs seen or heard in their years of youth. The play remained on stage until 1940. It was on 4 February 1940 that in the hall of soldiers in the township of Kupiškis the Kupiškėnai Wedding of the first cast appeared on stage for the lašt time. 26 years later due to the teacher O. Paulauskienė and P. Zulonienė's intention elderly people were rallied and a nontraditional artistic group was set up. 10 September 1966 is the date of the birth of the second Kupiškėnai wedding that made the township of Kupiškis famous not only in Lithuania but also all over the world. It was performed nearly 700 times. The first (in 1932) and the second (in 1966) weddings were performed on the basis of the memories of the participants themselves, later they were revised according to the deseriptions of the Kupiškėnai wedding by B. Buračas and M. Glemžaitė. The acting of these „wedding men and women" on stage elosely resembled their actual life. On the basis of the collected ethnographic material by B. Buračas and M. Valančius the seript for the third wedding was written by V. Balsienė. Wedding songs, diverse games and pieces of instrumentai music were recorded in the outskirts of Kupiškis by the leader of the Kupkėmis. The members of the ensemble had never heard either from their parents or grandparents about the vvedding they were going to depiet; they merely had done (or had not done) little reading of the abovementioned authors' deseriptions.
And this was the basic distinetion betvveen two previous produetions and the third produetion of the vveddings. More distinetions could be found: the time depieted in the play is different (a hundred years later), there is a synthesis between pagan world Outlook and Christian customs in the rites of the vvedding. The living tradition of the Kupiškėnai vvedding is likely to have been preserved in the play, yet it has become different recently. Clarity in two previous weddings is evident - the scenes were true, they were a real life of the second half of the 19th century transferred onto the stage and were acted according to the live narratives of the participants' parents and grandparents. Wedding customs of the third vvedding have been also recreated. Hence the ąuestion has been raised as to whether any parent or grandparent (let alone the participants themselves) of these actors recall the times depieted. The parallel of the time-span and the customs on which two previous stagings of the „vveddings" was held and by which their suecess was ąuaranteed has been damaged. Whether that will bring a suecess the future will show. Yet we mušt feel happy about the fact that the third wedding is still alive. Songs of Kupiškis region are being sung, and they are not taken from song books but they are those collected by the leader of the ensemble. The members of the ensemble are young people who tend to foster old traditions. The Kupkėmis ensemble is the best in the region and the one that has received ąuite a few revvards for its performances and the most important thing actually lies in the fact that the traditions of the singing, the dancing and the acting have survived up to this day.