Lithuania State Restoration Day
February brings an extra special meaning for the Lithuanians as they celebrate the State Restoration Day on the 16th. It marks the day when the Act of Independence was signed by 20 members of the Council of Lithuania in 1918. The act declared the country as a sovereign democratic state with Vilnius as the capital.1
We caught up with Audrius Janusis who oversees one of KTL’s telecommunications field teams about Lithuania State Restoration Day.
“Lithuania was annexed by the Russian Empire in 1795. There were many rebellions during the time, although all of them failed, people never forgot their dream for freedom. After WW1, the Russian Empire and Germany were weakened, and Lithuania finally managed to achieve independence.”
He described the day as the birthday of modern time Lithuania, with democratic principles. “Lithuania as a country has existed for more than a century (first mentioned in 1009 AD), but it was the Kingdom - Grand Dutchy, then the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth. It was the first time Lithuania joined modern democratic Europe.”
Freedom however didn’t last long as Lithuania was then occupied by Soviet Russia at the start of WWII2, and people were restricted to mention it for more than 50 years under the Soviet‘s reign. There was no chance to form a tradition of celebrating it in the past but is now a significant day - celebrated with official parades and commemorations.
“I am one of the Lithuanian National Defence Volunteer Force soldiers, so when I am back at home, I sometimes take part in a military parade along with my platoon. Other than that, I will mostly spend time in the city to watch events in the main squares. Cities are full of flags and people, so it’s a nice sight.”
During the Covid-19 pandemic, everyone was asked to stay at home and decorate their balconies with the colours of the Lithuanian flag, while also invited to online events on this meaningful day.3
Audrius shared three interesting facts about Lithuania that most people do not know:
Lithuanians speak among the oldest European languages. In fact, the Lithuanian language is the most conservative of the existing Indo-European languages. It still retains the features of the Proto-Indo-European language lost in other European languages. A lot of words and features are preserved from the ancient Sanskrit language (spoken since 6500BC in India).
The oldest tree in Europe, Stelmužė oak, has been standing tall for nearly 2500 years in Lithuania and is believed to be from a holy forest. In their ancient pagan religion, oaks were considered sacred and were a tree of the thunder God, Perkunas. Oak forests therefore could be visited by the Gods then, where Vaidilutės (sort of prophet girls) kept sacred fires for them.
The Grand Dutchy of Lithuania, which existed from the 13th century until 1795 AD, it was the biggest country in Europe. It was situated between the shores of the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea at its greatest extent in the 15th century.
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Tag: Audrius Janusis