Lithuania, although a small country, offers an amazing array of festivals. From traditional folk music and dance performances to an enormous rock festival, this beautiful land offers something for everyone!
Vilnius International Film Festival has quickly become one of Europe’s premier film events since 1995 when it first started, drawing film enthusiasts, critics and producers from around the globe each March. Established as an event on a smaller scale initially but quickly growing to attract over 50,000 attendees annually.
Trakai Middle Ages Festival
Trakai, situated 26km west of Vilnius, boasts picturesque lakes and an elegant castle that draw many tourists every year. Additionally, Trakai is famous for its cultural and natural heritage which attracts both domestic and foreign travelers alike.
Trakai is an ideal location to discover Lithuania’s rich history and culture while taking a relaxing day trip away from its capital, Vilnius. Here you’ll find numerous activities such as shopping for Baltic amber souvenirs or tasting traditional Lithuanian dishes – not to mention an abundance of shopping opportunities in Trakai itself!
Medieval Lithuania was home to many castles and strong defenses that made this region one of its most influential parts, making life in those centuries truly authentic for visitors. Now restored, this historical site provides plenty of opportunities to relive them!
Experience true authenticity at Trakai Castle Museum, featuring ancient coinage and archeological artifacts from its long and rich history. Moreover, many festivals take place here each year where you can join in on various activities!
Trakai Middle Ages Festival offers you a glimpse back in time with live shows, games and market offerings set against an reenactment of battle. Don’t miss this weekend-long event!
Apart from the main castle, there are also workshops where visitors can try their hand at various crafts such as weaving, woodcarving and jewelry making. Beginners or experts alike can participate in these events to gain more knowledge of past crafts.
Klaipeda Sea Festival
Since 1934, the Klaipeda Sea Festival has been taking place annually and is one of the biggest celebrations in Lithuania. This event promotes Klaipeda as an open, safe, and attractive port city and welcomes over half a million visitors from both Lithuania and abroad each year.
Festival takes place annually during July and August and provides an enjoyable week-end of street theater, carnival rides, market vendors, sports tournaments, exhibitions and performances with free fireworks displays as the highlight.
If you’re traveling to Lithuania, make sure you attend this festival – one of its most renowned celebrations will make sure your experience in Lithuania will remain unforgettable!
At this festival, you’ll see people dressed in masks and costumes dancing and singing their way through the streets, offering pancakes or other delicious foods as part of their entertainment.
Every July in Varniai on Lake Lukas is held an event similar to Woodstock Festival: music concerts are hosted, tents are set up with fireworks and other forms of entertainment for tent residents to enjoy, and fireworks light up the lakefront shoreline.
Not only should you attend the Sea Festival in Lithuania, but there are several other popular festivals you should also attend in order to gain insight into its culture and history. These festivals will help give you a great insight into life here!
Uzgavenes celebration (commonly referred to as Shrove Tuesday) is another festival beloved in Lithuania, marking an exciting and fun-filled day where people dress in traditional clothes and visit friends and neighbors’ houses, singing loud songs while eating pancakes and playing games.
St. John’s Day
St. John’s Day (Jonines), celebrated on the shortest night of the year, is one of Lithuania’s premier festivals and an ideal way to commemorate summer solstice. This holiday traces back to pre-Christian Midsummer festivities such as Kupoles or Rasos and has an exciting heritage of celebration.
Ancient peoples observed the festival with various ceremonies and rituals related to agriculture and harvests. This day also marked the beginning of summer, and people held out hope that evil spirits would be banished.
As Christianity spread across the country, many old traditions were integrated into new Christian holidays while remaining intact as part of everyday life. They never completely went away though.
Some ancient Midsummer festivities, such as searching for the legendary fern blossom, remain part of Jonines even today. According to legend, fern blossom is said to possess magical properties that grant immense power, read minds, and help us comprehend nature’s mysteries.
Fortunetelling rituals have long been an integral part of Jonines celebrations in Lithuania since when the region was still predominantly pagan. On the eve of each festival, people would gather together and hunt for fern flowers believed to hold the keys to success and prosperity.
Night was spent feasting and bonfire-ing, featuring dancing and quadrilha, or square dances, as the focal point. Dances would often include couple formations around a mock wedding scene that served as the focus of this particular party.
On this night, it was traditional to drive away witches believed to bring bad luck and ruin crops. In some rural areas, young boys collected bones and other debris and burned it, creating an aroma that carried through the countryside. Furthermore, they made brands and carried them as brands on their backs during these celebrations.
Palanga Fish Festival
Palanga, known for its vibrant summer party scene, offers six miles of beach filled by sunrise. People converge onto pedestrianised Jono Basanavicius street for cafes, bars, and music concerts on an ongoing basis. Furthermore, its pier features restaurants as well as shops like Fotokava photography store for lively summer fun!
Evenings find Shashlik sizzling at Armeniska Virtuve restaurant, pilaf piled onto plates and vodka flowing at rose-filled Birute park while free concerts take place in the rotunda. Meanwhile, The Amber Museum, housed in a grand mansion boasts the world’s largest collection of amber inclusions.
Antanas Moncys’ house-museum, featuring more than 200 stone, wood, bone and clay sculptures with ethnic themes is also worth seeing.
Hill of Crosses near Siauliai is another renowned religious attraction, drawing thousands of pilgrims each year. Each cross is carefully carved into the ground so visitors can wind their way between them all.
At its best, summer is the ideal time to visit this vibrant country. The Baltic Sea provides an idyllic backdrop for sunbathing and swimming while water activities such as jet ski rentals are readily available – rent one today for some exciting thrills along the coastline! In addition, other attractions include Curonian Spit National Park (a UNESCO World Heritage site). Spend a day navigating its stunning stretch of coastline with a local guide!
Festivals offer a great way to experience the culture of any nation, giving visitors an opportunity to mingle with locals and take part in traditional activities. When traveling through Lithuania, there are certain festivals you must not miss.
Trakai Middle Ages Festival attracts thousands of attendees from all around the world each year and provides an opportunity to gain more insight into Lithuanian history.
This festival hosts a wide range of events and competitions, as well as workshops and other fun activities that you can take part in.
Another popular summer festival in Lithuania is the Blue Nights festival held each year at Varniai on Lake Lukas. Held annually during the first weekend in July, this modern take on Woodstock attracts crowds every year on this annual date.
At this event, you can enjoy music and fireworks, as well as try the traditional Lithuanian dish “blues soup”, featuring fried fish with other ingredients.
There are other festivals in Lithuania worth attending as well, such as the Vilnius International Film Festival which draws audiences from all across Europe and worldwide.
This festival is famed for showcasing some of the top folklore ensembles from Lithuania and other countries, in addition to hosting a crafts fair.
Celebrated annually as a holiday tied closely to summer solstice, it marks nature’s renewal through singing and jumping over bonfires – two key parts of Lithuanian culture!
At events across Lithuania that celebrate LGBT community life are various LGBT pride parades; Baltic Pride in Vilnius and other cities annually stands out among them.