Peculiarities of singing the Blessed Virgin Mary Immaculate Conception Hours in Kartena area

Virginija Kvasaitė

One of the forms of Virgin Mary adoration is a tradition of singing the Blessed Virgin Mary Immaculate Conception Hours with its roots reaching the 15th century and being spread especially by Franciscan monks. In Lithuania the texts of the songs of the Virgin Mary Hours are translated from Latin. These songs became very popular among the Lithuanian believers in the 19th century. Certain regional peculiarities of these songs formed, thus, the melodies of the Virgin Mary Hours resemble to some extent those of the Lithuanian folk songs. The peculiarities are related to local traditions of the societies of believers. The Virgin Mary Hours were sung not only in the church, but also at home and during the pilgrim trips.

The analysis of the material collected during the expedition showed certain differences in the traditions typical of the Kartena region in singing the Virgin Mary Hours, if compared to other areas of Žemaitija (Samogitia). The Hours were performed both at home and in the church. They were sung in the Kartena Church not only during the Advent before the Rorate Mass and the Blessed Virgin Mary Immaculate Conception feast, but also before the May Masses and during the Assumption of Mary feast day. The Virgin Mary Hours in the Kartena region used to be sung at the Kartena Lourdes as well.

The pastoral activities of Kretinga Franciscans and Patvariai Franciscan Sisters contributed greatly to the popularisation of the tradition to sing the Virgin Mary Immaculate Conception Hours.