True Lithuania

Romuva (Neo-Paganism) in Lithuania

Romuva is a neo-pagan community that attempts to restore Lithuanian paganism. Only in 1387 was Lithuania officially Christianised, the last European state to abandon paganism. In spite of this few credible sources describe the pagan Lithuanian practices which have long since died out. Therefore many historians regard the 20th-century attempt to restore Lithuanian paganism to be a mere speculation which must be quite unlike what the real Lithuanian faith used to be. This is why unlike other old religions Romuva does not enjoy the traditional faith status in Lithuania.

For Romuva adherents, however, their religion is the one that the Lithuanians should follow. Many of them regard Christianity as having been forced upon Lithuania and also not well suited to the Lithuanian nation.

While traditionally Lithuanian nationalists used to be Roman Catholic, today many young nationalists choose to be neo-pagans instead by claiming that this religion is the one original to Lithuania.

Romuvan celebrations take place outdoors near sacred fires and are led by vaidila, while krivis is the leader of the whole community. There is an extensive pantheon of gods and goddesses, most of them related to particular forces in nature, such as the thunder (Perkūnas), or to lifetime events. Like other neo-pagan faiths, Romuva has no scriptures and relies on historical tradition instead. It accentuates the link between the man and nature and sees other polytheistic traditional faiths, including Hindu, to be more acceptable than either monotheism or atheism.

Note that sometimes it may be hard for an outsider to distinguish a historical re-enactment from a real religious practice. For instance, pagan bachelorette parties are chosen not only by pagan brides.

Neo-pagans are the fastest-growing religious community in Lithuania. Its membership increased from 1270 to some 5100 between censae years 2001 and 2011. With 0,2% of the population its followers, neo-paganism is now the country's 6th largest faith.

Žemaičių alkas (literally the Samogitian pagan shrine) in the coastal resort of Šventoji is among the few pagan religious structures in Lithuania. It was built in 1998 with the aim to reconstruct a 15th-century shrine that used to stand on the Birutė hill in Palanga. Based on archaeological finds it is a group of variously shaped wooden poles, each of them representing a different deity. A sacred fire is lit between the poles during the ceremonies. ©Augustinas Žemaitis.

See also: Lithuanian mythology and folklore, Top 10 pagan places and activities in Lithuania

Article written by Augustinas Žemaitis

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  1. I am glad to know that our lost brothers and sisters have remembered their original hindu tradition. actually there was only hindu religion all over the world in civilized mankind. my heartiest congratulations to Jaunius Jonas Trinkunas and welcome to their homland india

    • Thanks for your comment. You have probably meant “polytheist” rather than “Hindu” though. Lithuanian neo-pagan (Romuva) faith is not the same as Hindu as it believes in different gods and godesses. Like Hindu however it is polytheist, that is believing in many gods/goddesses rather than a single God or no God.

      • It is good for me to read things like this. The revival of paganism in Europe is important. It is happening amongst the Celtic Druids of Britannia and Gallia. It is happening amongst the Latvians and the Estonians, it is also happening in Germania and Skandinavia.

      • “Hindu” means religion or philosophy from the people from the indus. you can use it even as an umbrella term for the other faiths of indoeuropean (and dravidian, too) origin, cause they have the same root. the latvian dievturi even has the word “deva” (sanskrit:god) in its name. the symbol of the world tree of romuva is the same as the trishul of shiva. same thing with the celtic cernunnos. it’s pashupati. find more similaritys. 😉

        • The problem is chronology, the Baltic group of proto indo eurpean were the first group to permanently settle, a group went east and became Slavs, another went west and became Celts and Germanics, and another went back south and settled the Hindus valley.

  2. Then the similarity will b like that among abrahmic faith.
    The good thing is, no pagan claims ‘my way is the only way,all others r going to burn in hellfire’

    • most of worlds main religions (christianity, islam, judeism, etc) came essentially from the same source – Zoroastrianism. where there is “good” and “bad” god. religion of dualistic principle.
      most of eastern religions are not like that – they are actually diadic. they embrace “good” and “bad” equally. both are reality of life and they dont shame you into acting certain way promising you something for expected “good” behavior. or punishment for “bad” 🙂
      anyway. Its awesome to see people are getting back to their original roots of paganism

  3. It is great to see even ‘officially’ paganism is growing rapidly. Regardless, we all follow pagan traditions, you would not believe how many ‘catholic’ traditions I’ve found out not to be catholic at all while living abroad…it was all from paganism! I’m so proud our ancestors had managed to keep it alive!

  4. Lithuania is not Europes last Pagans , that goes to the Mari El and Urdmurt peoples of the Volga region .

    • The article says “(…)last European state to abandon paganism”, rather than “(…)last European ethnic group to abandon paganism”.

      While there were ethnic groups in Europe that remained pagan for longer, neither of these groups had an independent state at the time.

      Grand Duchy of Lithuania was however an independent state with paganism effectively a state religion prior to 1387.

    • Correct! And they should be reached and included in the World Council of Ethnic Religions!

  5. Are there any pagan places and pagan events in Vilnius in september 2015?


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