Vilnius is holding impressive celebrations to mark 100 years since the country regained its statehood. The 100 bonfires lining the town’s main avenue, a series of light installations and even a little time travel are only part of what’s in store for the Centennial party.
The main centenary celebrations are happening today, 16 February, which is the day Lithuania signed its Act of Independence in 1918.
You’re never too far from signs of a celebration in Vilnius: flags big and small are draped from windows, even in the suburbs. The town’s bridges and buildings have also turned the colours of the Lithuanian flag – yellow, green and red – with the help of light installations.
The long winter night is being made even brighter by the 100 bonfires burning on Gediminas Avenue – one for each year of modern statehood.
And what’s a birthday celebration without a little fun? City residents and visitors have been invited to travel back in time to 1918, with streets in the Old Town decorated to reflect the period and restaurant menus serving special treats from the early 20th century.
As for the Act of Independence itself, the original copy of the document was only discovered in 2017, just in time for the Centennial celebration. It bears the signatures of 20 people, known as the Council of Lithuania, and is currently on display at Vilnius’ House of Signatories.
Aside from the major celebrations taking place today, centennial festivities are planned throughout 2018. Another key accent will be the Lithuanian Song and Dance Festival, taking place from 1 to 6 July. It’s an event so impressive UNESCO has put it on the List of the World’s Intangible Cultural Heritage.
A country known to rise up over adversity time after time throughout history, Lithuania is exceptionally proud of its success story. Whether it’s traditional song and dance, stories that are both culturally and historically significant, or something entirely different you’re after – 2018 is an excellent time to pay this Baltic State a visit and get a glimpse of what the next 100 years may have in store for it.
More information about Vilnius: http://www.vilnius-tourism.lt/en/