Lithuanians enjoy many holidays, some of them quite unique from the States. Here are some important, but different, holidays celebrated here:
- Feb. 16 – Independence Day (Nepriklausomybes): On this day Lithuanians celebrate the first declaration of independence and the restoration of Lithuanian statehood in 1918.
- Prior to Lent – Shrove Tuesday (Užgavėnės): This holiday combines elements of Halloween, Mardi Gras, and Groundhog Day, including the wearing of traditional costumes/masks, eating pancakes, and reenactments of the “burning” of winter and the emergence of spring.
- Mar. 8 – International Women’s Day (Moters Diena): This general day of honoring women is marked by the giving of flowers to them, often tulips.
- Mar. 11 – Independence Restoration Day (Nepriklausomybės Atkūrimo Diena): This holiday commemorates the restoration of Lithuania as a country free from the Soviet Union in 1990.
- Jun. 24 – St. John’s Day (Joninės): This day coincides with Midsummer’s Eve, and is celebrated by folk festivals all over the country. These festivals include dancing, song, bonfires, and many other outdoor activities that pay tribute to historic pagan culture and beliefs.
- Jul. 6 – King Mindaugas crowning: Recognizes the first and only king of Lithuania, who ruled a unified Lithuanian nation in 1253. Mindaugas only ruled for ten years, but his legacy still lives on and is celebrated over 762 years later. What a guy! This day includes many festivals and parades throughout the country.
Lithuanians also celebrate common US holidays as well, such as Easter, Mother’s/Father’s Day, and Christmas, although they have very special traditions unique to their Lithuanian culture and heritage.
Viso gero (Goodbye!)
Works Cited: Warren, Columbia J. Experiencing Lithuania. Warren, 2013.