News

2015.09.08 13:45

Lithuania celebrates the Day of Independence.

LRT2015.09.08 13:45

The Act proclaiming the restoration of the independent state was signed by the Council of Lithuania, on 16 February 1918.

The Act proclaiming the restoration of the independent state was signed by the Council of Lithuania, on 16 February 1918.

Commemorative events are held throughout Lithuania, the most important take place in the capital Vilnius – the Baltic States flag-raising ceremony, the solemn Mass at the Arch Cathedral Basilica and a traditional commemoration at the house were the Act of Independence was signed are among centrepiece celebrations of the 16 February.

On the occasion, President Dalia Grybauskaite handed State Awards for 38 Lithuanian and foreign citizens for their contributions to Lithuania.

During the 19th century, Lithuania belonged to Russian Empire. Although people rebelled for several times, the first independence opportunity came when Russia was involved in the World War I.. Germany occupied the western part of the Russian empire, including Lithuania, and the Council of Lithuania had to manoeuvre carefully between the demands of German authorities and the desire for independence.

The window of opportunity opened in 1918 when Germany was weakened by WWI, and the idea of independence became a reality.

While the Act's original document has been lost, its legacy continues. The Act has been the legal basis for the existence of the modern Lithuania, both during the interwar period and since 1990.

SHOTLIST

Photo of the Council of Lithuania, 1918

Copy of the Act of Independence

The Baltic States flag-raising ceremony

(right) Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius and the Parliament Speaker Loreta Grauziniene

President Dalia Grybauskaite arrives

Raising of the Lithuanian flag, then Estonian, then Latvian

Soundbite (Lithuanian)

DALIA GRYBAUSKAITE, President of Lithuania:
 

It does not matter that it rains today, it is vital that we should not forget the birthday of our Homeland, that we should remember, no matter how many years have passed, those who we should thank that today we live in the independent Lithuania.

Vs of State Awards

Dalia Grybauskaite hands award

Soundbite (Lithuanian)

JOVITA NELIUPSIENE, receives award for coordination of the Lithuania's EU Presidency:
 

Everyone who receives an award today understands that without the support of those around us and our colleagues with whom we worked, especially during the last half of a year, when Lithuania presided over the EU Council, there would be no result, of which we are being praised. I think it’s a most memorable and joyous moment.

A girl sings a folk song