Wayy back 10 years ago in January, I inked 20 4×4″ illustrations of honeybees in traditional Lithuanian clothing, and then painted them in watercolors in March. I called this series “Avilys”, meaning “beehive” in Lithuanian: a meditation on my feelings about being of Lithuanian descent in America. Bees have a special significance in Lithuanian history, and feature prominently in their language and stories. Each bee is unique and depicts an aspect of culture, food, or history!
Avilys 19: All Soul’s Day! In Lithuanian, this holiday is known as Vėlinės. This Catholic holiday is celebrated in Lithuania on November 2nd (after All Saint’s Day on November 1st) and pays homage to the souls of the dead. Lithuanians light candles, visit the graves of loved ones, and prepare food for themselves or to leave in graveyards. Many superstitions surround this holiday, which has its roots in pagan ancestor worship. During the Soviet occupation, celebration of all religious holidays was forbidden, but today the people of Lithuania are once again free to celebrate as they choose.