Ritual, Power and Historical Perspective: Baptism and Name-giving in Lithuania and Latvia
Keywords:ritual, power, baptism, name-giving, communist culture
Power in our life can certainly be expressed in a variety of ways. One of them is power transmission through life cycle rituals. Soviet rule denied “religious traditions” and tried to form a new atheistic communist culture (and traditions). The new rituals were expected to replace older religious rites because communist morality and socialist internationalism was expected to overpower bourgeois nationalism. As indicated by scholars investigating into Soviet rituals and by my fieldwork data collected in 1999 in Northeast Lithuania and in 1998 in Southeast Latvia, the mission of creating communist traditions has not always been successful. I shall try to examine this process in my article by analysing the cases of “traditional” baptism as well as the phenomenon of the so-called “modern” name-giving ritual in Latvia and Lithuania.