After a short (no matter 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. Then, 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 1st September till the 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 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.
The 1st of September
20:30 – Grand opening concert- the group “JAUTI” will open the scene and warm up the crowd before the BRAINSTORM show at 21:20.
The 2nd of September
20:00 SISTERS ON WIRE
20:50 LOLA MARSH
21:40 LINAS ADOMAITIS with the group and Gospel choir
More information and the whole program can be found here.
25th of August – 10th of September: FIBA Basketball World Cup
Even if the basketball World Cup will not be hosted in Lithuania, we decided to include the tournament into this article cause all three weeks Lithuanians will be living in the spirit of basketball. Lithuania is famous for tall people and good basketball players and has a history of winning the European Basketball Championship three times: in 1937, 1939, and in 2003. However, the last 10 years for our national team were not that successful: the team did not participate in Tokyo Olympics in 2020, and in FIBA Eurobasket last year, Lithuanians were only 15. In addition to that, the official FIBA “Power rankings” forecast the 12 place for Lithuania. Nevertheless, the team keeps the spirit strong this year and fingers are still 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.
The 10th of September: Vilnius Marathon
In the second weekend of September, the streets of Vilnius convert 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 and more people and in 2013 about 10000 runners participated in the event. The numbers of athletes remained similar until the Covid pandemic hit the world. After Covid, the numbers continued to increase and this year more than 30 000 runners are expected 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 15h till 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 organized as well.
The 23rd of September: Autumn Equinox and Baltic Unity Celebration
On September 23, at 06:51 a.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 the 20st of September until the 8th 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.