Independence Restoration Day in Lithuania
Independence Restoration Day is a holiday observed publicly in Lithuania on March 11th every year. It commemorates the country’s declaration of independence from the Soviet Union on March 11, 1990. This holiday is very similar to Restoration of the State Day that is celebrated on February 16th.
However, it should not be confused with that holiday because that holiday marks the country’s 1918 independence from Germany. This holiday is usually observed with a parliamentary meeting that takes place in the historic hall—a tradition that dates back to 1991. This day has been a holiday in Lithuania since 1996 and is observed with a variety of festive events.
The History of Independence Restoration Day in Lithuania
Lithuania became a part of the Russian Empire in the 18th century, but after the Russian Revolution of 1917, it became an independent state. After WWI, however, Soviet Russia seized the capital of Lithuania and occupied both the northern and eastern portions of the country.
Lithuania was forced to rely on the Germans to drive the Bolsheviks out of their country. German General Rüdiger Graf von der Goltz wanted to dominate the Baltic region, so he made attacks on Riga and northwestern Lithuania with the anti-communist West Russian army under Colonel Pavel Bermondt-Avalov. The campaign was unsuccessful, however, and Lithuania was abandoned in 1918.
During WWII, the Soviets and Nazi Germany agreed to a pact that gave control of Lithuania to the Soviets. In February of 1990, the Lithuanian people voted for self-rule, and a newly elected parliament declared independence from the Soviet Union on March 11, 1990.
Observing Independence Restoration Day in Lithuania
This day is a public holiday in Lithuania and, as a result, it is observed with quite a lot of fanfare. There are public concerts, exhibitions, parades, and other events that highlight the significance of this day.
It is also the day when the State Independence Scholarship is presented with awards for research that is significant to strengthening the statehood of Lithuania.