The bells of Kupiškis, Palėvenė and Palėvenėlė churches and ringing them

Inga Bendžienė (Cironkaitė)

The history of church bells in Kupiškis, Palėvenė and Palėvenėlė and their ringing traditions in this area in the 20th c. and start-21st c. are given in the present article. The olden bells of Kupiškis and Palėvenė had been lost during the WWI. It was impossible to examine the bell of Palėvenėlė at close range, and the data about its history are lacking. The data on all the three lost church bells are also lacking. It is impossible to reach the Palėvenė bells. New bells for the churches in Kupiškis and Palėvenė ordered at the same Bochumer Verein foundry in Germany are similar in their shape, décor and are affected by corrosion. All three sites have no special bell-ringers, thus people dealing with other functions in the churches ring the bells now. The tradition of bell ringing before the Mass and so-called pazvanai, announcing about the death of a parish member, as well as to see-off the dead have remained up to now. There is an exceptional tradition in Palėvenėlė, where the bell tolls for the Prayers to May. The tradition of bell ringing for the Angelus Prayer died out in all the parishes, it has been very popular in this area before the WWII.

A personal passing of a tradition is valued as a part of a intangible heritage. The bell ringers are those people who preserve the stories about the bells. A special bell-ringer in the church takes care of the bells and the belfry. Performing this duty for a long time, they invent their own unique methods and contrivances to make their work easier as well as preserve the traditional ringing in the church liturgy. The parish communities in Kupiškis, Palėvenė and Palėvenėlė should be motivated to oversee the bells and cherish bell-ringing traditions, as well as take over the experience gained by old bell ringers still living.