After a short (no mater how long, holidays are always too short) summer break, our tradition to introduce you the most important monthly historical events and festivities comes back!
So if you turn up in Vilnius this beautiful and colorful September, here is some history and a few tips for your visit.
1st of September: Science and knowledge day
The beginning of September is not just about the coming of autumn, for many countries in Europe, it means the start of a new school year. In Lithuania this day is called “The day of science and knowledge” and is dedicated to commemorate the start of a new school year, also followed by most universities in Lithuania. Usually the schools put on a special welcoming ceremony to mark the start of the year. Than, the first graders (youngest kids) enter the school building, followed by 12th-graders (the oldest students) one by one. Teachers give solemn, introductory speeches and children bring flowers to teachers (mainly “sword lilies”).
1st of September is not a full school day, so after the ceremony children return home or hang on with their classmates once the celebrations have finished. As the statistics of drinking among teenagers are very high in Lithuania, a few years ago the Seimas (Lithuania’s Parliament) prohibited from selling the alcohol in the supermarkets on the 1st of September. This law is meant to stop teenagers from indulging on the first day of the school year. The selling of alcohol is prohibited only in the shops and supermarkets, but restaurants and bars are allowed to sell it.
1st-3rd of September: Vilnius City Fiesta
Traditional festival “The Capital Days” held in Vilnius since 1993, will take place in the city on the first weekend of September. It is one of the largest cultural celebrations in Vilnius that attracts citizens and city guests with hundreds of events such as concerts, exhibitions, street theatre, fashion shows, movies, carnivals, food markets, etc. Everybody is welcome to join, cause all the cultural events are open and free of charge.
The festival will start with a great opening concert of a famous Scottish singer KT Tunstall (on 1st of September at 9pm).
The main action will take place in a part of the Gediminas avenue from Cathedral square to Lukiskiu square that will take the name of “The Buzzing avenue”. All the weekend this street will be full of sounds of music, stylish designers and delicious food market.
In the very late evening, it is worth to get closer to the river Neris, cause the 3D video projection on water between Mindaugas Bridge and Žaliasis Bridge will show the performance called “Neris Ballet” (1st of September, Friday & 2nd of September, Saturday, in-between 23:00 – 01:00).
More information about the festival here.
31st of August – 17th of September: Eurobasket 2017
Even if Eurobasket championship will not be hosted in Lithuania this year, we decided to include the tournament into this article cause all three weeks Lithuanians will be living in the spirit of basketball. Lithuania already won the European Basketball Championship three times: in 1937, 1939 and in 2003 and this year fingers are also crossed for the medals.
Lithuanians are not famous only for a good game, but also for devoted and passionate fans. During basketball championship, the colours of Lithuania’s flag can be seen everywhere, turning bars, restaurants and people into various hues of yellow, green and red. There is also the group of loyal, very energetic fans that always lead the national team in the matches no matter where it takes palce. All dressed in green, hundreds of them gather in tournaments waving national three colours flag. They sang and blew horns in unison usually for the entire game and get crazy if our team wins
In Vilnius plenty of bars such as Snekutis”, Alaus Studija”, Alaus namai, etc will broadcast the matches. Also the biggest arena in Vilnius “Siemens” will show it in the big screens.
10th of September: Vilnius Marathon
In the second weekend of September, the streets of Vilnius convertes into the runners race. Described by some as one of the most greenest marathons (cause Vilnius is probbably one of the greenest capitals in Europe), the course passes through the old town and the modern part of the town. The race starts and finishes in the very heart of Vilnius – cathedral square. Runners can choose different distances : the most enduring athlets will run two laps of the course in marathon (42 km 195) , the same route, but one lap is for half marathon (21 km 98 m) and different races for 10 km, 4,2 and 3 km distances.
The full marathon distance was first conquered in Vilnius in 2004. Only 200 participants from 10 different countries joined the event at the beginning. The race was supported by Vilnius City Municipality which saw it as a way to foster healthy lifestyle and put Vilnius on the map of acknowledged marathon cities. Step by step the running event attracted more end more people and in 2013 about 10000 runners participated in the event. The numbers o athlets now remains similar. This year, more than 9000 runners plan to join the evnt in all distances.
As Vilnius is a hilly city, it is impossible to avoid ups and downs in the race. Many athlets have to admit that the route is not the easiest and probably not the best race for personal time records, but the green areas and views while running redeem the effors. The Vilnius marathon course record of 2:21:15 was set by Richard Rotich from Kenya in 2007 ( while the world record is 2:02:57, 2014 ), the woman’s record of 2:43:13 was set by Vaida Žūsinaitė from Lithuania in 2014 (the world record is 2:15:25, 2004).
15th-17th of September: Nations’ Fair
In the middle of September, Vilnius will be hosting another festival on Gediminas Avenue – Nations’ Fair. The aim of the fair is to introduce the cultural heritage of different ethnic communities residing in Lithuania. Craftsmen and artisans will present their handmade souvenirs, different nations will cook traditional dishes, the folk songs and dances will entertain the participants of the fair. The small basketball tournament for families (it is impossible to have a festival in Lithuania without basketball) will be organised as well.
22nd-23rd of September: Autumn Equinox and Baltic Unity Celebration
On September 22, at 11:03 p.m. in Lithuanian time, the sun will shine directly over the equator—the midpoint of the Earth. That means that at this time the day and night become of the same duration and afterwards the days will slowly start getting shorter. It marks the first day of fall and the astronomical autumn begins. As fruits and vegetables ripen, the traditions to celebrate this moment are associated with the harvest. In ancient times, people used to express their gratitude to the gods for the harvest, begin to prepare for the coldest and darkest time of the year. While the spring equinox is usually joyous occasion, the autumn one used to be a bit melancholy.
In Vilnius the traditional “Equinox” festival takes place each year. The highlight of the celebration is the fire show near the river Neris where the straw sculptures of mythological Baltic symbols are set on fire and candles are placed into different ornaments and lit by schoolchildren of Vilnius. This year’s event will commemorate the special wooden tombstones typical for Western Lithuania called Krikštai ( a unique part of Lithuanian cultural heritage). All the action starts from 8 pm near the river Neris. You can find the program and more information here.
If you still need more specific information about the things happening in Vilnius, don’t hesitate to contact us or write at info(eta)vilniusfreetour.lt.