Top 10 The Most Fascinating Facts About Lithuania

At first glance, Lithuania, a country in northern Europe, may seem easily included with its Baltic neighbors, sandwiched between Poland, Belarus, and Latvia. While there are undoubtedly commonalities among the nations in this formerly Soviet-controlled region, Lithuania has its own unique culture and wide range of customs.Lithuania, a country with fewer than three million people, has a fascinating past and a distinct modern charm. Delicious food, well-known music, and customs rooted in both Christianity and paganism make it one of Europe’s most underappreciated travel destinations.

10 Lithuania Was Previously a Powerhouse

The Latin form of the name, “Litua,” was first mentioned in written history in the “Annals of Quedlinburg” in 1009, making the name “Lithuania” more than a millennium old. The area was vulnerable during this period to both Viking attacks and shrewd taxation by different Danish monarchs. But by the end of the fourteenth century, Lithuania was one of the biggest nations in Europe, having subjugated a significant chunk of contemporary Ukraine through a string of military triumphs. Though ill-defined, its borders also extended into modern-day Poland, Russia, and Belarus.As one of the few remaining pagan enclaves in Europe, this confederation gradually became Christianized and was renamed the Grand Duchy of Lithuania[1]. The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was established in 1569 as a result of the Poles’ persistent support; it was a union but one that preserved each nation’s own statutory laws, army, and economy. The early 17th century saw the Commonwealth at its height.Then everything began to fall apart one by one. Lithuania’s capital, Vilnius, was besieged and pillaged by the Russian army in 1655, and greater losses in terms of lives and wealth occurred during the Great Northern War[2] that lasted from 1700 to 1700. Then, devastatingly, starvation and pestilence wiped out about 40% of the population.The united Sejm, or Parliament, of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth drafted a constitution in 1791[3] that was heavily influenced by the recently passed US Constitution, in a desperate attempt to preserve its sovereignty. It was unsuccessful. The land of the Commonwealth was divided by 1795 between Prussia, Russia, and the Habsburg Monarchy, which was centered on Austria. The majority of Lithuania was ruled by Russia.

9 So Sweet They Set It Free Twice

Lithuania celebrates its independence with two national holidays, reflecting both its turbulent past and proud present.[4] To start, February 16th is Restoration of the State Day, honoring one of the greatest “none of the above” multiple-choice questions in history.Despite having been a sovereign nation since the 13th century, Lithuania was ruled by the Russian Empire from 1795 until German forces invaded the area in World War I. Russia, with its 1917 revolution, and Germany, with its faltering war machine, were neither in a position to rule over Lithuania. Thus, under pressure from both sides, Lithuania decided to do none of them, thank you very much. They proclaimed their independence as two potential oppressors attended to more important matters.That was effective until 1940, when Lithuania was taken over by Soviet soldiers against Hitler. For a while, the Red Army was driven out by the Nazis, but by 1944, the country in the middle was once again under Soviet control. It stayed behind the Iron Curtain of the USSR until the bloc’s demise started in 1989. On March 11, 1990, officially designated as Restoration of Independence Day, Lithuania formally announced its break with Soviet Russia.[6] Businesses close for both independence days, and there are banners, flags, and clothing featuring the yellow, green, and red national colors of the nation.

8 The Lengthest Silent Demonstration Ever

And when we say longest, we mean longest of all time, as in about 700 kilometers of irate liberation fighters.The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, a 1939 non-aggression pact between Stalin’s Soviet Union and Hitler’s Germany, celebrated its 50th anniversary on August 23, 1989. The treaty contained a rather covert agreement, known as the Secret Protocol[7], that delineated the boundaries of the Soviet and German spheres of influence over Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, among other neighboring countries, even though Germany quickly broke the deal by invading Russia. Six years later, Hitler’s Third Reich would come to an end, but the aforementioned nations continued to exist as Russian satellites, non-autonomous war booty.The USSR stood strong for many years before quickly collapsing. More than two million citizens of the so-called Baltic states, including one million in Lithuania alone, joined hands three months prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall in a unified cry for personal independence. A human line that connected Tallinn, Estonia, and Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, spanned 675 kilometers and came to be known as the Baltic Way[8].In response to the devastating international publicity, the USSR chose to both acknowledge the existence of the Secret Protocol and declare it invalid, rather than rejecting the obvious. This was a crucial step in Lithuania and her sister Baltic nations regaining their freedom.

7 Lithuanian Traditions That Combine Paganism and Christianity

Numerous practices in Lithuania blend Christian beliefs with those of the old Baltic pagans. The finished products are distinctive mixtures that progressively add new creases while holding onto essential components of deeply ingrained national character.One such charming blend of cultures occurs on Christmas Eve, known as Kucios in Lithuania.[9] With a nod to their society’s agricultural and pagan origins, Lithuanians celebrate the birth of Jesus. Traditions include setting out a plate of food for departed loved ones to sleep on and tasting each of the twelve vegetarian meals to guarantee a successful and meaningful year ahead. It’s interesting to note that Lithuanians think the birth of Christ was so miraculous that the spring water changed to wine and the barn animals were made to speak;[10] pets are frequently given human food during Kucios celebrations in remembrance of these anthropomorphized animals.Additionally, Lithuanians greet summer in a most endearing fashion. The ancient Lithuanians had the belief that on June 23, around midnight, a group of witches gathered and took flight to celebrate on the highlands of Šatrija or Rambynas. Therefore, Lithuanians burn bonfires on this night—which is considered the shortest night of the year despite being a day or two after the official summer solstice—to ward off witches and other evil spirits.This annual ritual, known as Jonines, is inspired from pagan customs. Participants look for a mythical magical flowering fern, and those who bathe in the dew of the following morning are guaranteed good health for the rest of the year. The most magnificent and genuine Jonines celebrations take place in the ancient site of Kernave, close to Vilnius.

6 It Has One of the Oldest Languages in the World

The Indo-European language family includes the majority of European tongues[12], yet about 3500 BC these two influences began to diverge. Numerous other languages, such as German, Italian, and English, were also influenced by this regional branching effect; however, over time, these “offspring” languages lost many of the linguistic traits they originally had in common, even while they still retained certain similarities.For whatever reason, Lithuanian did not take this divergent, derivative route and instead retained a significant amount of characteristics associated with the language known to linguists as Proto-Indo-European (PIE), which most scholars believe was spoken circa 3500 BC. One of the oldest languages in the world, Lithuanian has retained more of the sounds and grammar rules from PIE than any of its linguistic cousins, possibly as a result of the Baltic’s relative isolation five millennia ago.Interestingly, there is still a noticeable effect of ancient Sanskrit on Lithuanian.[13] The 37-letter term “Nebeprisikiškiakopusteliaudamas”[14], which roughly translates to “a group of people who used to go to a forest to pick up some rabbit grass, but are no longer doing that,” is evidence that this language is among the more difficult ones to learn. How helpful.TEN UNEXPECTED FESTIVALS ACROSS THE WORLD

5 Lituanian Children Are Excited About Easter, Granny?

What else makes more sense on the holiest day of the Christian calendar than a rabbit, a creature unrelated to confections and not known for laying eggs? Basically anything at all.Velyku Bobute, the Easter Granny, is in charge of hiding pastel eggs and giving kids cavities in Lithuania. Kids usually get ready for old fashioned Bobute by putting empty handcrafted egg nests in shrubs and gardens outside of their houses. The Easter Granny is said to be driven by a pony and aided in her hurry by a sunbeam whip, a story that could incite imaginary animal rights advocates.Granny puts in smart, not hard, effort. She has assistants, which are none other than bunnies, who fill the cart and dye the eggs. After that, she sets out on her yearly journey, spending the night bringing the children candy and eggs. Unsurprisingly, real grandmothers frequently copy Velyku Bobute, dressing up to the joy of their grandkids [15].Singing by housecall choirs is another endearing Easter custom in Lithuania.[16] Lithuanians celebrate by singing hymns in return for decorated eggs, candy, or other treats, much like they do with Christmas caroling. When everything is considered, it is evident that Lithuanians celebrate Easter more lavishly than most of us.

4 A Vast Folk Music Legacy

Lithuanians used to sing all day long before modernism arrived, making their own unique soundtrack for day-to-day existence. Some of Lithuania’s earliest songs commemorate events that are more widely known, such harvests, weddings, and leaving for battle, while others describe unexpectedly particular duties, like planting.Old Lithuanian folk ballads from before the 19th century have a lot of diminutives in the lyrics. Sutartines [17] are multipart songs that have multiple parts. These, which are performed by two to four people, are rather uncommon in Europe and are officially listed by UNESCO as part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.[18]Lithuania continues to host numerous folk music festivals, the most well-known of which is the state-sponsored Dainu švente, or “Song Festival,” which took place for the first time in 1924. Every year, in one of the Baltic republics, the Baltica International Folklore Festival honors the folk music and cultures of all the Baltic countries.Due to Lithuanians’ proclivity for fusing the ancient with the modern, folk rock has become more and more popular in recent years. Here’s a very entertaining example with subtitles in English.

3 There’s a National Scent in Lithuania

Every nation has its own national symbols, which are emblems of pride and uniqueness meant to inspire reverence, nostalgia, or patriotism. The bald eagle is the official bird of the United States and has been since 1782, the year the American Revolutionary War was declared. The tulip is a beloved emblem of The Netherlands that is known around the world, while Canada’s maple leaf honors its highly valued domestic product, maple syrup, which was accessible even before European settlers arrived.[19]But Lithuania is probably the only country in the world with a distinctive national aroma.[20] “Lietuvos Kvapas,” or “The Scent of Lithuania,” was created by renowned perfumer Galimard and combines bergamot, wild flowers, ginger, raspberry, and grapefruit with base notes of amber, cedar, sandalwood, patchouli, and—quite strangely—tree moss and smoke.Although the aroma is undoubtedly a marketing ploy to increase Lithuania’s tourism appeal, it is supported by solid scientific evidence. It’s well knowledge that nice scents arouse feelings of nostalgia and longing; for example, someone who smells Lietuvos Kvapas in London is more inclined to book a flight to Vilnius. There’s also a fragrant candle that goes with the perfume. Classy as ever, Lithuania.

2 Creations: From the Tasty to the Lethal

The people of Lithuania came up with a number of very practical inventions. The first is the non-invasive cranial pressure meter [21], which is probably a huge improvement over invasive cranial pressure measurement. The orbital tube welding head, developed by another Lithuanian, Gasparas Kazlauskas [22], enables metalworkers to produce symmetrically perfect circles. Aside from other advancements, the creation of the radioisotope thermoelectric generators that were used on NASA’s Apollo missions in the 1970s would not have been possible without the orbital tube welding head.One of the best sandwiches in the world was also created by a Lithuanian. Okay, perhaps. For almost a century, grilled slices of rye bread topped with corned meat, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing have tantalized palates and congealed arteries. Although Reuben Kulakofsky, a Lithuanian-born man, claims to have created the bellybuster, New York delicatessen proprietor Arnold Reuben claims to have created the mixture circa 1914.The Euthanasia rollercoaster, Lithuania’s most bizarre and gruesome invention, is less debatable. The world saw the first design (or even consideration) of a fictitious rollercoaster that thrills, chills, and ultimately kills every passenger in 2010 when Julijonas Urbonas did. The goal is rapid, euphoric death from brain hypoxia produced by the G-force. Urbonas estimates that the envisioned device will seat 24 people; group pricing may or may not be offered.

1 Lithuanian Food: Uncomplicated But Delicious

Lithuania has a food style similar to that of its neighbors in Eastern Europe: it’s simple, yet homey, with a lot of meat and potatoes. The majority of the nation’s staple recipes use ingredients like barley, potatoes, rye, beets, greens, berries, and different mushrooms that grow well in the country’s cool, wet climate.It makes sense that a nation that shares a border with Poland would have a unique interpretation of pierogies. Large potato-dough dumplings packed with pork and covered in sour cream and bacon sauce are known as cepelinai[23], and they are the national dish of Lithuania. A typical pre-meal snack is warm, delicious borscht (beetroot soup), together with fried rye bread in oil. Kibinai,[24] soft-crusted hand pies stuffed with meat, vegetables, cheese curd, and berry jams, are a particularly intriguing offering. Kibinai, a delectable and luxurious treat, are associated with the established Kariates, an ethnic Turkic community living in Lithuania.Crow is also eaten by Lithuanians. in the true sense.[25] The wild crow, a squawking annoyance avoided in other nations, is a favorite in Lithuania due to its succulent meat. It is said that young crows that are captured before they leave the nest are especially delicious and taste like quail .

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