Traditionally for the fourth year in a row, an original and solemn breakfast celebration is hosted at prestigious locations across Vilnius. This year, an event was held at the capital’s Grand Hotel Kempinski to celebrate Lithuania’s independence – a traditional solemn breakfast on February 16.
Symbolically, 102 Lithuanian patriots participate
Accompanied by the enchanting sounds of violinist Agnė Doveikytė‘s violin, for the February 16 breakfast, patriotically inclined citizens and their families gathered, representatives of Lithuanian intelligentsia, business, art and the military. The solemn V16 Breakfast inspires ever more people. This year, during the commemoration of the 102nd anniversary of the restoration of Lithuanian independence, the number of participants at the breakfast was very symbolic – 102.
Remembering partisans and the difficult for the Lithuanian military year of 1991
The solemn breakfast was started with a greeting speech from organiser Alkas Paltarokas, who mentioned just how important it is that we do not forget why we are free and who reminded participants of the partisans, thanks to whose resistance we can celebrate today. Lieutenant Colonel Linas Idzelis, who always captivates with his eloquence, reminded in his introductory speech, just how difficult the path was in 1991 when selecting volunteers for the Lithuanian military because “we had nothing to offer, we could only rely on the strength of patriotism. It is admirable that to this day we have veterans, who were the first to join the volunteer ranks, who ensured security for our homeland Lithuania and who risked their lives in an especially difficult time – 1991 alongside youths, people of the same age as these events, who grew up in independent Lithuania. The history of our homeland’s independence struggle fights is rich and volunteers hold a very special place in it. Let us be worthy of our history, of our predecessors, who took to the fight in 1918, 1941, 1944 and 1991, thinking not of themselves, but of their homeland’s freedom and independence.”
Celebrating the country from the very morning
“Celebrate the country from the very morning – this slogan lingers in one’s mind for a long time. After all, year upon year, we have traditional marches, rallies and commemorations, but there was desire for an original, unique event, which would charge with positive energy and would creatively emphasise the three colours of our flag – yellow, green and red,” the idea’s author Alkas Paltarokas revealed.
Hand made three-coloured accessories
Most guests without hesitation donned three-coloured accessories made by VDU professor Jolanta Toleikytė that breathe Lithuanity. According to the professor, “The emergence of the Aš ❤LT [I❤LT] accessories was inspired by cultural exchange projects and my travels to foreign countries, when you want to describe your country’s history in one word or one glance, when you want to express your feelings for your homeland and at the same time gift to others for your togetherness. We live in the 21st century, the world is becoming increasingly global. We are so far apart geographically, but emotionally we are so very close to one another. Let’s not overemphasise nationalism, but when respecting ethnic heritage, let’s create for ourselves an accessory from the heart, one that reflects our self and our love for Lithuania. The national or ethnic element, the costume is what you feel, where and what you are.”
Signatories’ quill in an ice installation
During the event, guests were fascinated and invited to immortalise in photography sculptor Mindaugas Tendziagolskis‘ (Ledo Menas)[Ice Art] ice sculpture installation with national motifs. The sculpture Laisvė [Freedom] was a tricolour ice quill, as if an allegory for the quill used by the signatories of the February 16 Act of Independence.
Little ballet studio performance
No one could be left indifferent to the ballet studio’s head Olga Konošenko and her little ballet artists, who presented a ballet performance with the Lithuanian Tricolour. “It is a celebration of our country. We celebrate and create Lithuania! The studio’s children had their hands over their hearts when signing the Lithuanian National Anthem. And created a dance for Lithuania. These are the children of our future. We love Lithuania!” Olga said.
Musical pieces about Lithuania and for Lithuania
Throughout the event, Agnė Sabulytė and Jurgis Bruzga performed alongside the National Defence Volunteer Forces big band. Agnė performed the reborn in a new arrangement, but well known to Lithuanians song Laisvė. The song’s new interpretation was accompanied by kanklės [Lithuanian plucked string instrument] music, imitations of a heartbeat and Agnė‘s amazing voice, all of which shook many hearts. Also featured were the partisans’ songs and of course, several popular pieces by Lithuanian performers, ones such as Marijonas Mikutavičius’ Aš Tikrai Myliu Lietuvą [I Truly Love Lithuania], Gytis Paškevičius’ well known Mano Kraštas [My Land], which were immersively performed by Jurgis Bruzga and the National Defence Volunteer Forces big band.