6 things you should know about February the 16th.
1. In Lithuania is a national day.
On this day, Lithuanians commemorate that on February the 16th 1918, the Act of Independence of Lithuania (Lietuvos Valstybės atkūrimo aktas) was signed, thus proclaiming the restoration of an Independent state of Lithuania.
2. The Act was signed by 20 brave Lithuanians.
This was the Council of Lithuania of 1918. In 1915, Germany occupied western parts of the Russian Empire. After the Russian Revolution in 1917, Germany agreed to allow the Vilnius Conference, hoping that it would proclaim that the Lithuanian nation wanted to detach itself from Russia and establish a closer relationship with Germany. However, this strategy backfired; the conference, held from September 18–22 of 1917, adopted a resolution that an independent Lithuania should be established and that a closer relationship with Germany would be conditional on Germany’s formal recognition of the new state. Here’s a list of all the Signatories.
3. Jonas Basanavičius = the man.
Apart from being the man who was on the 50 litas note, having a kick-ass beard and being a doctor, he was an activist and proponent of Lithuanian National Revival and founder of the first Lithuanian language newspaper Aušra (dawn). Also, he was one of the initiators and the Chairman of the Organizing Committee of the 1905 Great Seimas of Vilnius and the founder and chairman of the Lithuanian Scientific Society (1907)
4. The Act was a powerful one.
… and it was a key element in the foundation of Lithuania’s re-establishment of independence in 1990, and it says something like this. (In fact, if only counting from its last independence, Lithuania and I are almost the same age).
5. After 1918, Kaunas became the temporary capital of Lithuania.
And so it remained from 1919 (after the German occupied Vilnius on January 1st 1919) until 1939. Read more about those years here.
6. February the 16th is the perfect day to go out to the city.
With all the city full of Lithuanian flags, people in the streets many acts and shows going on, February the 16th is definitely a must day to spend in Lithuania. Su Vasario 16-ąja. Su 97-uoju Lietuvos gimtadieniu!