May is one of the most beautiful months of the year in Vilnius. The flowers start blossoming, the days get warmer and the most important, statistically it is the driest month of the year. It doesn’t mean that you don’t need an umbrella, but at least there is a lower likelihood of the rain in Vilnius. On the other hand, never trust Lithuanian weather and check the weather forecast before your arrival carefully.
So pack your things and don’t miss an opportunity to visit Vilnius in May. If you turn up to the capital of Lithuania this month, here are tips for your visit.
1st of May: Labor Day
The month of May starts in a good way- in Lithuania as in many other countries in the world, we celebrate a Labor Day. Most of the small shops in the old town will be closed, but don’t worry the restaurants and supermarkets still remain open with shorter working hours.
Historically, this day became first commemorated in the United States after the civil war. In the late nineteenth century, the working class was in constant struggle to improve very severe working conditions and to gain the 8-hour work day without a cut in pay. From 1866 1st of May an American Federation of Labor proclaimed that the working day should not last longer than 8 hours. The protests and demonstrations for workers’ rights took place on this day. Of course, the strikes did not lead to any immediate result, but it resulted in further improvements in working conditions globally.
In Lithuania, this day was first commemorated during the Soviet times. It was one of the most important holidays featured by large military parades in Red Square. After Lithuania got independence, the May Day was banned as this celebration had too “socialist reflection” in Lithuania. However, in 1996 it became commemorated again. There are no special traditions dedicated to this day in Lithuania, people enjoy the public holidays and if the weather is good, spend the time in nature. Nevertheless, it is important to remember that it is the day to celebrate the economic and social achievements in labor conditions and continue the further improvements in this field.
5th and 9th of May: Europe Day
There are two days dedicated to Europe in May, the 5th, that marks the establishment of the Council of Europe in 1949 and the 9 of May that commemorates the French foreign minister Schuman declaration in 1950 that made a step towards the creation of the European Union.
This is an ideal occasion to participate in the festivities that grow importance about solidarity in Europe. Especially now, in this climate of uncertainty between EU and its members, it is important to remember all the great achievements that were implemented during the past years.
In Vilnius, Europe day will be commemorated in Gediminas Avenue. All the weekend this street will transform into the open food market where different European countries will present their national food. The concerts and active leisure such as ice hockey, chess and disc golf will take place as well.
7th of May: Mother’s Day
On the 1st Sunday of May Lithuanians celebrate the Mother’s day. It is the day when people express their appreciation and love towards mothers. Usually, Lithuanians not only give flowers and candies for their mums but also spend some time together and give them some rest by taking over their regular duties. Thankfully, this celebration in Lithuania is not so widely commercialized, but still, flowers’ sellers prepare for celebration much in advance.
Many nations worldwide have different dates for this holiday. Majority countries in Europe commemorate it on the second Sunday in May, while the Arab world on the Spring equinox. There is no specific reason why Lithuanians decided to choose exactly this day and not the middle of May as in many countries around. The fact is that the Mother’s day was officially recognized in Lithuania as the National holiday in 1929. During the Soviet times, the celebration was eliminated and instead, Lithuanians had to commemorate International Women’s day. Of course, some families still secretly greeted their mothers in May. Finally, just one month before restoration of Lithuanian’s independence in 1990, the 9th of February, Lithuanian parliament brought the Lithuanian celebrations such as Easter, Christmas, and others together with the Mother’s day back to National holiday list.
20th of May: Street Music Day
This is probably one of the best days in Vilnius in May. It is dedicated to street music. Everyone who can play any instrument is welcome to participate in this festival. All of the streets of Vilnius and other Lithuanian cities will be full of different sounds of music, from very famous artists to the unknown musicians. It is the best opportunity to discover new talents around every corner. The idea of Street music day born in 2007. Andrius Mamontovas- a famous Lithuanian musician was behind the idea. During the ten years of existence, this event reached the neighboring countries such as Latvia, Belarus and even have spread further to Ukraine and Georgia.
You can find more information about it here.
It is unmissable if you are in Vilnius on this day!
If you still need more specific information about the things happening in Vilnius, don’t hesitate to write us at info(eta)vilniusfreetour.lt