Although Mindaugas was crowned the first and only King of Lithuania 769 years ago, this occasion - State Day - has only been celebrated on 6 July since 1991! It is a celebration of modern Lithuania, which has a history that is important to it, and whose traditions have quickly become an integral part of the summer of every resident of the country.
This year, with the Coronation of King Mindaugas and the National Anthem taking place on a Wednesday, it will be a great opportunity for those who have not yet gone on holiday to take a breather and enjoy themselves in their own city. For those visiting, it will be a fine chance to get to know Lithuanian traditions better. What has Kaunas planned for 6 July? Read on!
At noon, the celebrations will start with a flag-raising ceremony in the garden of the Vytautas the Great War Museum and the laying of flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Freedom Monument, with the Air Force Band playing. After the introduction, the Kaunas Brass Band “Ąžuolynas” with soloists Marija Arutiunova and Edgaras Davidovičius will present the concert programme “Heart of Lithuania”. At the same time, in Vienybės Square, the 2nd (Kaunas District) Detachment of the Vytautas the Great Riflemen of the Lithuanian Riflemen’s Union will start their march through Lithuania.
“Operetta in Kaunas Castle” returns
“The 21th International Festival “Operetta at Kaunas Castle” is taking place against an unexpectedly harsh backdrop - the world has been shaken by the war in Ukraine. The consequences of the war are felt throughout the world of culture and art. We live in hope and believe that it will soon become a thing of the past and we will all be able to enjoy a safe community of artists and ambitious ongoing creative projects,” the festival organisers sensitively invite the audience to the traditional festive evenings at Kaunas Castle this year. On the eve of State Day, 5 July, the collage opera “Mažvydas” based on the drama by a renowned Lithuanian writer Justinas Marcinkevičius will be performed here. The song and dance ensemble “Lietuva” will take part.
On 6 July at 8 pm, “Operetta at Kaunas Castle” will hold the concert “Johann Strauss Heard and Unheard”. After the singing of the National Anthem and the presentation of the Kaunas City Awards to the winners, the evening’s dessert will be the mystery “Vilnius Dream”, announcing the capital’s 700th birthday, which will take place next year.
On National Day, Kaunas City Museum invites everyone to meet at the highest point of the city, on Owl Hill, for a picnic. Free activities for the whole family and a concert by Gabrielius Vagelis will be held from noon next to the city’s largest Lithuanian tricolour.
On that day, the exhibition “Kaunas-Vilnius: Moving Mountains” on Owl Hill and all the departments of the Kaunas City Museum will be open free of charge. By the way, many other museums will be closed on Wednesday, but visitors will be welcomed at the Historical Presidential Palace, where the Act of Independence of Lithuania (1918) is on display. The Vytautas the Great War Museum will also be open.
The Art and Music Department of Kaunas Vincas Kudirka Public Library invites everyone to celebrate the State Day with Žemyna Trinkūnaitė and her Kankuli group (Dalia Šukienė, Vilma Repečkė). The concert will feature works from Žemyna's latest, already fourth album "Dešimtstygės kanklės - 22 compositions". The enchanting sound of the kanklės, traditional string instrument, will not only take you back in time but will also help you feel the harmony of the moment and give you a chance to be with yourself. The concert in the courtyard of A. Mapu str. 18 starts at 7 pm.
This year, on Lithuania’s State Day, the National Anthem will be sung around the globe for the fourteenth time. Wherever they live or visit, Lithuanians all over the world celebrate the Coronation Day of King Mindaugas by coming together. As we have already mentioned, the National Anthem will certainly be sung at Kaunas Castle in our city. Traditionally, local communities will gather on the Jiesia (Napoleon’s Hill), Veršvai and Eiguliai mounds.
Of course, there's no need to follow strict rules - it's all about celebrating the way you want to celebrate personally. So if you decide to just wander around on foot or by bike instead of gathering, Kaunas is ready to surprise you. Go to kaunastika.lt or visit the Kaunas IN and Kaunas 2022 Tourist Information Centre at Laisvės al. 36 and choose a route you haven't tried before. Maybe the traces of diplomatic Kaunas will be of interest on the occasion of State Day? Or maybe a brand new map of industrial heritage? Maybe you'll look for Scandinavian or Japanese footprints or finally discover Šilainiai? Free to your imagination! And if you find it most fun to just walk the entire Karaliaus Mindaugas Avenue on State Day, that will be very kaunastic too.