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.
From the 3rd of September till the 5th 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 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 join the Grand live concerts that will take place in the heart of the city – cathedral square.
More information about the festival here.
The 12th of September: Vilnius Marathon
In the second weekend of September, the streets of Vilnius converts into the runners race. Described by some as one of the most greenest marathons (cause Vilnius is 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 athletes will run the marathon (42 km 195) or half marathon (21 km 98 m) and can also choose 10 km, 5 km, 1.5 km and 200 m distances.
The full marathon distance was first conquered in Vilnius in 2004. At the beginning, 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 athletes remained similar until the last year then Covid pandemic hit the world. Thus, this year, only around 6000 runners plan to join the event in all the distances.
As Vilnius is a hilly city, it is impossible to avoid ups and downs in the race. Many athletes 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 efforts. The Vilnius marathon course record of 2:19:49 was set by Dmitrijs Serjogins from Latvia in 2020 ( while the world record is 2:01:39, 2018 ), the woman’s record of 2:39:40 was set by Diana Lobačevskė from Lithuania in 2020 (the world record is 2:14:04, 2019).
From the 17th till 19th 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 organized as well.
The 22nd of September: Autumn Equinox and Baltic Unity Celebration
On September 22, at 10:20 p.m. in Lithuanian time (EET, GMT+3), 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. This year, the highlight of the celebration is the sculptures show representing the Goddesses of Old Europe accompanied by sounds and visualizations. All the action starts from 8 pm near the Mindaugas Bridge.
The 23rd of September: National Memorial Day for the Genocide of Lithuanian Jews
The 23rd September is the Holocaust Memorial Day in Lithuania which marks the abolition of the Vilnius Jewish Ghetto. In 1943, on the 23rd-24th of September Vilnius Ghetto was liquidated. Over 8000, men, women, children and elderly were sent to the death camps in Poland, Estonia and Latvia where they were murdered. Hundreds of sick and elderly were taken to Paneriai forest and murdered.
From 22nd till 26th of September: International Jazz Festival “Vilnius Mama Jazz”
Are you a jazz fan visiting Vilnius? If yes, than good news!
Already the 20th time, Vilnius will hold Vilnius Mama Jazz festival. The program focuses on contemporary developments in jazz music that is why all the concerts takes place in Contemporary Art Centre.
Jazz up your life a little together with Lithuanian artists and world famous jazz musicians from abroad!
Find more information, the program and the tickets here.
The 24th of September: The Culture Night
The Culture night is an annual event held since 2006 that usually takes place in June. However, due to Covid pandemic, the last and this year it was shifted to September and finally will take place. Thus, each year, the city invites Vilnius citizens and guests to participate in wide variety of cultural events: concerts, performances, exhibitions and excursions that surprises even the most skeptical visitors.
This year, the festival has rich and diverse musical program. Traditionally, students of Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre invite visitors to the classical music marathon “Black and White”, music from Medieval Ages will take place in the Palaces of Grand Dukes of Lithuania performed by German musical duo Candensas Lilium, modern, avant-garde music will be played at the National Gallery of Art by Wind Instrument Orchestra “Trimitas”, Electronic music and the sounds of Litvak heritage will be heard at “Petras Cvirka” square.
The Bernardine Garden will create the cozy space for families full of dances, board games, educational programs about ecological lifestyle and coffee beans(? :)) also Lithuanian animation and short films.
All these events (and much more) are free of charge, so don’t forget to dress accordingly, check the full program and join it! It is definitely unmissable if you are staying in Vilnius on this days.
From the 15th of September until the 7th of October: International Theatre Festival SIRENOS
The annual theatre festival has been presented since 2004 and the focus of the festival is contemporary art exchange between Lithuania and the global theatre scene.
The festival program is divided into two parts: Lithuanian Showcase and International. Thanks to the strong partnerships, city citizens and guests have an opportunity to see not only Lithuanian modern theater performances but also the troops invited from different parts of the world. Most of International shows are held in English, so it can be a nice experience for a chilly Autumn evening during your stay in Vilnius!
Sounds interesting? Check out their website for more information, program and tickets.
Last Tips about the Weather
The weather in Vilnius in September is usually pleasant. The days are still warm, the daytime temperatures ranging from 12 to 22 degrees . However, the rain is still likely, so check the weather forecast very carefully before your visit to Vilnius, since it is possible you might need either an umbrella or windproof jacket 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.