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AP PHOTOS: Costume-wearing Lithuanians chase winter away

In this photo taken on Saturday, March 2, 2019, a performer wearing a traditional carnival mask takes part in Shrovetide celebrations, in Rumsiskes village, some 89 kilometers (56 miles) north of Vilnius, Lithuania. A strange scenario took place in this central Lithuania village this weekend as chanting devils, goats, witches and others filled the streets to chase winter away. (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis)

RUMSISKES, Lithuania (AP) — A strange scenario took place in this central Lithuania village this weekend. Chanting devils, goats, witches and others filled the streets to chase winter away.

After a long and dark winter, people in this Baltic country wanted to make the cold season go away by wearing colorful masks and dressing up, singing loudly and eating pancakes with toppings.

Onlooker Lukas Kazlauskas, a 43-year-old teacher, came with his family “to have fun and burn down More” — a giant doll symbolizing winter — and dance around the fire.

The centuries-old Ash Wednesday festivities, rooted in pagan and Christianity traditions, took place Sunday in Lithuania, a nation of nearly 3 million inhabitants sandwiched between Belarus, Latvia, Poland and Russia’s Kaliningrad exclave.

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