Have you decided to visit Vilnius in May?
Great choice! As Vilnius is one of the greenest capitals of Europe, a lot of trees and flowers start blossoming in May, the days get warmer, brighter and longer.
So pack your things and don’t miss an opportunity to travel to Vilnius this month. Along with your trip, don’t forget to read our monthly article dedicated to help you to find the best things to do in Vilnius in May.
1st of May: Labor Day
The month of May starts in a good way. Lithuanians together with many other nations celebrate a Labor Day. As it is an official public holiday, so most of the small shops are closed. But don’t worry the restaurants and bigger supermarkets usually remain open.
Historically, this day became first commemorated in the United States after the civil war. The story behind is that in the late nineteenth century, the working class was in constant struggle to improve severe working conditions. The aim of workers was to gain the 8-hour work day without a cut in pay . It was finally achieved in 1866 on the 1st of May. On this day an American Federation of Labor proclaimed that the working day should not last longer than 8 hours. The protests and demonstrations for workers’ rights went along with proclamation. 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 government banned the May Day celebration as it had too “socialist reflection” in Lithuania. However, in 1996 it became commemorated again.
There are no special traditions dedicated to this day in Lithuania. The weather traditionally is good (fingers crossed for this year too), so people simply enjoy the public holidays and 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.
Every Friday and Saturday: Open Kitchen
Every Friday and Saturday from 11:00 till 23:00 the open air restaurant and chill zone take place in the market of Tymas next to the city center. It is a very nice place to grab a snack, a pint of beer and relax in the open air space.
The summer has it’s own taste. Discover it under the sky!
The action takes place here.
5th 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. Traditionally, Lithuanians not only give flowers and candies for their mothers but also spend some time together and give them some rest by taking over their regular duties.
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 Mother’s day was officially recognized in Lithuania as the National holiday in 1929. Afterwards, Soviets eliminated the celebration 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.
From the 10th til 12th of May: Europe Day
There are two days dedicated to Europe in May. The 5th of May marks the establishment of the Council of Europe in 1949 and the 9 of May commemorates the declaration of French foreign minister Schuman 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.
The center of Europe day celebration in Vilnius will be 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 there as well.
18th of May: Street Music Day
This is probably one of the best days in Vilnius in May, dedicated to street music. Everyone who can play any instrument is welcome to participate in this festival. The streets of Vilnius and other Lithuanian cities will be full of sounds of music, from the very famous artists to 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 visit Vilnius on this day!
From 21st till 26th of May: International Folklore Festival
This is the oldest folk festival in Lithuania held annually since 1973. It gathers numerous participants representing Lithuanian nation folk songs and dances. This is an exclusive opportunity to get to know Lithuanian folklore and traditions better. If you visit Vilnius on these days, you are very lucky as all the city center will be full of singers and dancers dressed in national costumes, expressing their enthusiasm and happiness.
Don’t be shy and join the participants for traditional Lithuanian dance!
Please read more about this unique festival here.
Last Tips about the weather
When you travel to Vilnius in May, you can expect to have a good weather. Statistically, May is the driest month of the year. Of course, It doesn’t mean that you don’t need an umbrella, but at least the rain is less likely. On the other hand, it is better to be prepared, so before your arrival, check the weather forecast carefully.
If you still need more specific information about the things happening in Vilnius, don’t hesitate to write us at info(eta)vilniusfreetour.lt