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Ilgaplaukės 2013With the Ilgaplaukės contest of 2012 in mind, I went to Vilnius with little expectations. I entered the 5th floor of the VCUP shopping mall located on the bank of the river 'Neris' with the fear that, because of my quite critical review of last year, I would immidiately be kicked out by the security and spend five days in this cold time of year in Lithuania doing nothing. But luckily that didn't happen, and I was happily surprised about the location and the large number of contestants with a total hair length of 44,68 meters!

For the third time, this Ilgaplaukės contest that simply means "long haired" was organized by modelling agency 'Modeliai.lt' and was sponsored by the shopping mall VCUP. The aim of this contest is like each Lithuanian contest: showing that long hair is the result of patience, discipline and compassionate care and helps maintaining the Slavic tradition of having long hair. Unlike Ilgakasė contests in little villages in Lithuania that are also talent shows, the only thing that matters was hair length...

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Girls and women competed in three age categories 3 - 7 years, 8 - 11 years and 12 years and older. Asta Kuncevičienės, a woman who shows more resemblance with the fairytale character Rapunzel than any other person in the world was also present. She must have been invited by the organization. It's unlikely that she decided to take part to make sure that she still had the longest hair, because with an astonishing length of 2.45 meters (more than 8 feet), there's no reason to be afraid of that. Most people never get to see hair like this, so the attendance watched closely as she walked on the catwalk, carefully moving as she could trip over her hair quite easily.

It's always a pleasure to see local people dressed in traditional clothing which is still a yearning for a nation to identify themselves in this globalizing world. Always hand made from delicate fabric with often beautiful patterns and colours. Only one girl was wearing a Lithuanian folk costume containing a skirt with many colourful stripes, bodice and a sash, a long woven band wore like a belt. Most other girls were, despite the cold weather, wearing regular knee length skirts or dresses.

Between the long hair contest ceremonies, models from agency Modeliai.lt were showing clothing trends and everyday fashion for teenage girls from designer Daiva Pečiulienė. And a braiding and styling part where (grand)mothers were able to make and show off their daughters' hair styles. Also there was the unevitable horrific introduction music again, sometimes interrupted by nice feedback noises produced by the audio technician. It was repeated for every contestant who was brought on stage to receive her diploma and presents from the VCUP stores: hair care sets, jewelry and toys for the little girls.