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“Sodai” in Lithuanian, also known as straw mobiles in English, are decorative hanging ornaments made primarily from straw. These charming creations often feature various elements such as animals, birds, geometric shapes, or symbols, and they are suspended from a string or wire, allowing them to gently sway and rotate with the breeze. Straw mobiles can be found in different cultures around the world, and they often carry cultural, symbolic, or decorative significance.

Being a strong tradition in Lithuania, Sodai straw garden making in Lithuania was inscribed (December, 2023) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity (UNESCO).

Straw gardens are known in German as “himmeli”, Norwegian as “halmkrone”, “pająki” in Polish and “jõulukroon” in Estonian.

Straw mobiles, captivating in their simplicity and charm, are meticulously crafted using a thoughtful combination of straw and creativity. The process begins with selecting high-quality straw, ensuring it is clean and dry. Artisans then cut the straw into uniform lengths and meticulously shape them into desired forms, whether animals, geometric figures, or symbolic elements. Using needle and thread or small pieces of wire, the straw elements are securely attached, paying careful attention to symmetry and balance. The completed elements are then arranged and affixed to a sturdy string or wire, creating a well-balanced structure. After ensuring stability, artisans often add finishing touches such as ribbons or beads for extra flair. The mobile is then ready to hang, gently swaying and rotating, showcasing the artisan’s skill, creativity, and the rustic beauty of straw. This delicate yet purposeful craft brings together tradition and artistry in a delightful display of handmade elegance.

Sodai decorations are used for Christmas, wedding, christening and other celebration. It serves as a symbol of unity, togetherness, friendship, and bonding.

Tomas Dūminis
Dr. Tomas Dūminis, the BR guest author is a scientist and has special research interests in Baltic Anthropology. He is a graduate of Queen Mary University of London.

Lithuania: Kaunas University – Freedom of self-realization through creativity

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