- June 26, 2017
Celebrating Midsummer Night in Lithuania
The shortest night of the year was traditionally an occasion for fun. There were concerts and fun events in nearly every town. The celebrations were taking place within short intervals of time, however, depending on the place they were completely different. The discrepancy was really huge – while in Lavoriškės the people celebrated the birth of John the Baptist, those being in Kiernowa celebrated Rasos (Dew Holiday).
The events of the Midsummer Night were organized throughout Lithuania. In Vilnius, the biggest holiday took place in Verkiai. The feast was celebrated according to folk tradition dating back to pagan times. The fun celebrations also took place in particular districts of the city, although it should be said that the capital is not the best place for celebrating the Midsummer Night, which is a typical folk tradition.
In the Vilnius region, the biggest Midsummer Night festivity was held in Rudamina. It was organized by the Multifunctional Centre of Culture. Those, who were celebrating there, could take part in sport competitions, games and contests. There were also stalls with products made by folk artists.
It was possible to see the performance of the Kolurija vocal group, the Rudomianka folk group, the Jawor song and dance group, the soloist Bożena Sokolińska, the folk dance group Vilniaus pynimėlis, the Belarusian national dance group and DJs from DK event.
The Cultural Centre in Miedniki organized an educational tour. The participants could learn more about the traditions related to Midsummer Night and learn how to weave traditional wreaths.
The feast in Lavoriškės was probably of the most Catholic character. It was preceded by a Holy Mass on the occasion of the parish feast in veneration of Saint John the Baptist.
Guests could also see the exhibition of Henryk Sielewicz “Weaving Wreaths from Field Flowers” in the Multicultural Centre of Culture in Lavoriškės.
The Centre of Culture in Glitiškės also invited people to search for the fern flower. In the centre it was possible to watch the performances of The Laikini band from the Širvintos District Municipality, the Czerwone Maki vocal group, the Malwy and Kropelki dance groups, the Tautinės raiškos sambūris and Bočiai bands from Vilnius, the Kupeta band from Glitiškės, the Group of Russian Song Lada and the humorous group Jożkin dom. The Midsummer Night events also took place in Zujūnai, Bezdonys and Savičiūnai.
In Šalčininkai District Municipality, the biggest celebration took place in the Park of Balińscy in Jašiūnai. The ceremony began with the performance of the song and dance group Znad Mereczanki. Its members wove and gave wreaths for the public, they also burned the fire. There was also the performance of Radzimiczi band from Belarus, well-known in Lithuanian folk-rock band Žalvarinis, the Art of Music youth group from Šalčininkai District Municipality and Bubliczki from Poland.
The lovers of “more traditional” celebrating of the shortest night of the year did not have to travel too far from Vilnius to celebrate Midsummer Night as closely as possible to pagan customs. It was enough to go to Kernavė, the first capital of Lithuania and the place where there are many archaeological findings. The celebrations were exceptionally solemn there this year, as the Feast of the Dew was celebrated there for the 50th time.
Translated by Magdalena Bobryk within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.