More than 100,000 Lithuanians call Ireland their home. Irish expats have a massive presence around the world. But is there any other country besides Ireland that sees its national holiday being feted by locals, expats, wannabes and innocent bystanders all at once?
In Vilnius, the celebration of St. Patrick's day, which is celebrated around the world, will all end in the wee hours of Sunday after the Vilnelė River turns green on Saturday.
Against this backdrop, the Irish Ambassador to Lithuania, David Noonan, hosted a St. Patrick's Day concert and reception for several hundred guests on Thursday in the Teachers House in Vilnius. The Irish Cantando choir performed on-stage for their first ever concert in Vilnius. The choir sang the Irish National Anthem, a solemn version of the Lithuanian National Anthem and the EU National Anthem, the Ode to Joy of van Beethoven's 9th Symphony.
National holidays are always a good time to pause, take stock of the past and look at the road travelled by society to arrive at the present. During his short speech, Ambassador Noonan reminded the audience about how the founders of the modern Irish State pondered where they were going as a society and how they could create a better world for their children. As the Ambassador noted, '''they did instil in the independence movement and in the young state which followed a sense of justice and fairness, as well as a commitment to democracy''. Important values that are in 2016 still a challenge for many. It is something that Lithuanians can relate to as well and cherish during their last 26 years of independence.
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Reported by: The Lithuanian Tribune