Vilnius invites to a spectacular and festive celebration of February 16, taking part in the march along the Road to Lithuanian Statehood, raising the flags of the three Baltic States together, meeting at the 30 symbolic bonfires, enjoying a festive concert, experiencing a unique sense of unity and enjoying the atmosphere of the city of freedom.
“Commemorating freedom at all its stages and in all ways possible is important. And not only we commemorate the most important celebrations of Lithuania in Vilnius, but we also celebrate them wholeheartedly – the streets are filled with people, and a spirit of strong patriotism, uplifting emotions and a sense of unity are floating in the air. I want to invite everyone to march along the traditional Road to Lithuanian Statehood, which takes us to the state of Lithuania and its creators, on Sunday. Every February 16, we swear an oath and commit to Lithuania anew”, Remigijus Šimašius, Mayor of Vilnius, said invitingly.
Vilnius decorated in flags of Lithuania will invite residents and guests of the city to festive events since the very morning:
At 9.00 a.m. – signatories of the Act of Independence of Lithuania of February 16 will traditionally be honoured at the Vilnius Rasos Cemetery.
At 10 a.m. – Lithuania’s youth and pupils will gather at the Cathedral Square near the Gediminas monument, and the fifth traditional youth procession along the Road to Lithuanian Statehood will begin. Carrying flags of Lithuania, flags of schools and universities and drumming, the procession will pass 16 important historic sites, going through Pilies Street, past the House of Signatories, Didžioji Street, past the Great Seimas Palace of Vilnius, Gates of Dawn, M. Daukšos Street to the Rasos Cemetery, where they will honour the memory of Jonas Basanavičius, Mykolas Biržiška and Jonas Vileišis, the leaders of the uprising of 1863 and the volunteers who died for the freedom of the Homeland, singing the Lithuanian national anthem.
At noon – the ceremony of raising the flags of the three Baltic States – Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia – will take place in Simonas Daukantas Square near the Presidential Palace. During the official event, the President of the Republic of Lithuania Gitanas Nausėda will deliver a congratulatory speech. Traditionally, the ceremony will be celebrated by firing honorary salvos, NATO Air Policing Mission fighter jets flying by, and reading the Act of Independence.
At 12.30 p.m. – Mass will be held at the St. Basilica of Vilnius Cathedral.
At 2 p.m. – a traditional commemoration “Signatories’ Balcony” will be held at the House of Signatories in Pilies Street.
At 3 p.m. – a ceremony will be held at the memorial square to the Signatory of the Act of Independence of 16 February 1949, Chairman of the Council of the Lithuanian Freedom Movement, partisan general Jonas Žemaitis-Vytautas next to the Ministry of National Defence (Totorių g. 5).
At 5 p.m. – 30 symbolic bonfires will be lit in Gediminas Avenue. This year, they will be dedicated to the upcoming 30th anniversary of the restoration of Lithuania’s independence.
At 6 p.m. – a concert of pupils of the National M. K. Čiurlionis School of Arts in the courtyard of the Presidential Palace. The courtyard will be open to visitors from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. The choir of 6 – 12 grade students of the National M. K. Čiurlionis School of Arts will sing songs by J. Naujalis, E. Balsys, O. Balakauskas, B. Kutavičius V. Augustinas and L. Vilkončius.
11 a.m. to 9 p.m. – the Centre for Civil Education will be open to visitors. Here they will be able to visit the ongoing exposition and currently open exhibitions – “19490216: Deciphering Code” and “Unforgotten Future: Visions of the Centenary of Lithuania”. There will be creative workshops for children. For more information, visit www.pazinkvalstybe.lt.
Monuments and bridges (the Hill of Three Crosses, the White Bridge, the Green Bridge, Mindaugas Bridge and Žvėrynas Bridge) will be decorated in flags of Lithuania in the evening.
People are encouraged to use free public transport to go to festive events at the city.