Trees of Laima – Lindens
Long ago all the lindens were dedicated to goddess Laima. Linden was the home of the goddess Laima who determined the human‘s fate. The goddess lives in the tree, comes from it when help is needed. It was even told in the tales: go into the woods, there you’ll find a three-branch tree and three girls sitting in it. Two of them will be cheerful and the third one will be sad and grumpy – that will be part of you.
The sacred lindens, where rituals were held, were located in various places in Lithuania. Lindens are associated with womanly trees, therefore, women were often the ones to come and ask for grace. They would pray for love, beauty and health for them and their children. It was believed, that lindens stimulate growth. Baby cradles were made from linden and weak children were brought to gain strength. Men, who have gotten in a fight with their wives, would go to the linden to seek refuge and forgiveness. In the 16th century, Jesuit Jokūbas Lavinskis described a custom that when a baby, who was not baptised, dies they would bring it and lift in the linden, which was sanctified. Later on, in the 19th century another custom was alive to plant a linden tree on the grave of a dead women, it was believed that her soul goes to live in it.
Lindens were also worshipped for their blossoms attracting bees as a lure. A fragrant tree is the main garner for summer honey. In 1588 when protecting the hollow tree beekeeping, the Statute of Lithuania has forbidden the destroying of linden woods. Lindens provided foot wear, food and treatment for Lithuanians. Bast-shoes were made from the basts of linden, the soft wood of the linden was perfect for tableware and cutlery, rope weaving. The linden blossom tea and honey were delicious and used for treating sickness. The linden blossoms are used to cure cold, cough, kidney problems. Linden blossoms are also useful for beauty procedures: reducing wrinkles and strengthening hair.
From ancient times, lindens were planted near homesteads and were considered as tree-guardian of the family. In villages they were planted as protection from fire. There is only a small amount of oil in the wood of the linden so the lightning rarely strikes it. Alleys of linden trees would often surround manor parks, streets of the city and roadsides.