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UNESCO-inscribed Lithuanian Song Festival begins

2014 07 02 Lithuanian Song Festival (dainų šventė) began today with a massive opening ceremony. A total of ~37 000 amateur and professional singers, dancers and musicians will participate in this UNESCO-inscribed event, usually held every 4 years and sometimes compared to Olympic games.

The Festival will last a week until July 8th, attracting many local Lithuanians and Lithuanians from abroad. As usual its events include a wide array of traditional Lithuanian activities: folk songs, folk musical instruments, folk dances and folk crafts.

A special law has been enacted in Lithuania to ensure the proper organization of Song Festivals, describing all the mandatory events.

The Song Festivals are traditional in all three Baltic States, regularly unifying the nations. The folk music has greatly influenced the Baltic identity, so-much-so that the Baltic States independence from the Soviet Union in 1990 has been called "the singing revolution".

The current Song Festival is held to be especially important as it's exactly 90 years since the establishment of the tradition in Lithuania.

The program of the 18th Song Festval (2014).

Song festival singers in folk costumes watch over Vilnius from the Hill of Three Crosses before their concert starts. Singers, dancers and musicians of all ages, genders, voices, instruments and band sizes participate, coming from all over Lithuania and many Lithuanian communities abroad. ©Augustinas Žemaitis.

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