Animals and Plants
What is growing there in Lithuania?
Between the Baltic Sea coast and numerous lakes and hills, Lithuania has an unspoilt nature with forests, meadows and moors. Birch, spruce, pine, beech, ash and oak are common tree species. Willows and poplars grow in more humid locations on rivers and lakes. Dunes and wide sandy beaches can be found next to pine forests on the Curonian Spit.
Which animals live in Lithuania?
In addition to lynxes, martens, foxes, wild boars and red deer and fallow deer, wolves, bears and moose also live in the forests of Lithuania. Beavers, muskrats and otters feel at home in the waters. There are almost 3000 lakes and 800 rivers in Lithuania!
Snakes, lizards and pond turtles are also at home in Lithuania. Birds are particularly rich in species, for example black grouse, herons, cranes and storks.
Cereals and milk
Agriculture hardly plays a role in Lithuania anymore. It generates only 3.5 percent of the entire economy and only 8 percent of the population are employed in it. Wheat, barley, potatoes, sugar beet, rapeseed, rye and oats are grown. Dairy cows are kept, as well as chickens and pigs.
Food and clothing
Traditionally, the production of food and textiles plays a large role in Lithuania’s industry. However, the production of clothing has decreased significantly – other countries produce cheaper. Overall, the industry generates 30 percent with 20 percent of the employees. Machines and electrical goods are exported, such as refrigerators and televisions.
Emigration and poverty
In 2010 the unemployment rate was 17 percent. That is very high. Many Lithuanians went abroad to work there. The economy has since recovered, in 2015 9 percent were unemployed, in 2018 7 percent.
Between 2001 and 2007, Lithuania’s economy grew so rapidly that the country, like Latvia and Estonia, was referred to as the Baltic Tiger.
Would you have thought that basketball is the most important sport in Lithuania? That’s the way it is! The Lithuanian national basketball team has been European champion three times and won third place at the 2010 World Cup. Many Lithuanians go to basketball games in their spare time or they play themselves.
What is kūčios?
At Christmas there is a tradition of cooking twelve dishes without meat. This food is called Kūčios (which is spoken: Kuchios). The whole family comes together. Relatives who live abroad also try to come. Traditionally, some hay is placed under the tablecloth as a reminder that Jesus was born in a stable. Typical food includes fish, potatoes, vegetables such as sauerkraut and bread – meat and dairy products are not allowed. Everyone at the table should taste each of the twelve dishes.
What is a Kankles?
The kankles is the typical traditional musical instrument of the Lithuanians, with which many songs are accompanied. It is a plucked instrument.
Living in Lithuania
In the big cities like Vilnius or Kaunas, many people live in prefabricated buildings that were built in Soviet times. But of course there are also smaller houses with several apartments or houses in which only one family lives.
Family ties are close. Most families have a father and mother who work. In the evening we eat together. Lithuanians love to party too!
Children and School
How is the school in Lithuania?
In Lithuania, children start school at the age of six. They attend primary school for four years, followed by secondary school for everyone. You stay here until the 10th grade. However, good students usually switch to grammar school after the 8th grade. They stay there until graduation after 12th grade.
The school year always starts on September 1st. There are grades from 1 to 10. 10 is the best grade and is also called Puikiai: Excellent. With a 1, 2 or 3 you failed unfortunately… Grades are only given from grade 5. Each teacher has his own room and the students always change for the next lesson. Then the hustle and bustle in the hallways is big!
How are the children in Lithuania?
“Aaa pupa, kas ta pupa supa? Supta tetis ir mama, ir katyte murzina” – little Lithuanians hear that again and again, because this is how a Lithuanian lullaby begins! Most children naturally learn Lithuanian as their mother tongue. However, some Poles also live in Lithuania, so Polish is also spoken by some residents.
Children in Lithuania love basketball. Baskets hang everywhere on the houses and barns. If the national team plays, everyone watches and discusses the game the next day.
In the summer, the Lithuanians who live in the city go to the countryside. Many own a summer house. Amber can be found on the Baltic Sea. The Lithuanian children are also happy about that. And they like to sing! There are even big song festivals and the children also know many folk songs.
Names in Lithuania
What are the names of the people in Lithuania?
In Lithuania, a country located in Europe detailed by mathgeneral, you can tell whether someone is a man or a woman by their last name. Male surnames often have the endings -is, -as, -us and sometimes -a. Married women’s names end in -ienė. Unmarried women have the endings -aitė, -ytė, -utė or -iūtė in their names. A Mr. Kazlauskas includes his wife Kazlauskienė and daughter
Kazlauskaitė. By the way, Kazlauskas is the most common surname in Lithuania.
These names were originally formed as patronymic names. Adam’s son was then called Adomatis. Willem’s son becomes Willumeit.
Women can now also keep their maiden name when getting married. Double names or a neutral choice of name are also possible. However, these are little used. Family names of Lithuanian origin can also be found in Germany, because part of the country once belonged to East Prussia. Maybe you know someone named Kallweit or Wowereit?
And what are the children’s names?
Popular boy names are Lukas, Matas, Nojus, Jakubas, Dovydas, Dominykas, Kajus and Danielius. Do you recognize which German names correspond to them? Girls are often called Emilija, Gabija, Ugne, Kamile, Austeja, Gabriele, Goda and Urte. Most of the names here sound strange to us, right?
Eating in Lithuania
What do you eat in Lithuania?
Typical products in Lithuanian cuisine are barley, potatoes, rye, beetroot, berries and mushrooms. All of these thrive in the Lithuanian climate. Dairy products are also one of the ingredients that are often used. Due to the shared history with Poland, there are many dishes that are similar to Polish dishes, such as dumplings or pancakes. German traditions have also left their mark, for example in dishes with pork and potatoes.
What are cepelinai?
Cepelinai is the national dish in Lithuania. It is pronounced like Zeppelinäi. These are potato dumplings that are filled with minced meat or quark. The dumplings are made from a mixture of raw and cooked potatoes. Dumplings filled with minced meat are elongated – like zeppelins. This is also what the name of the court refers to. However, when filled with quark, they are rounded.
The cepelinai are then served with a sauce made from fried bacon, onions and sour cream. You can find the recipe in our participation tip ! Many other potato dishes are popular in Lithuania, such as kugelis, a potato casserole.
Bread made from rye flour
Bread is baked mainly from rye flour and is therefore dark in color. It is baked with sourdough and sometimes a little wheat flour is added.
A specialty made from rye bread is Kepta Duona. To do this, elongated pieces of rye bread are rubbed with garlic and fried in oil.
What are Šakotis and Skruzdelynas?
Šakotis is a cake that is similar to our Baumkuchen. It is baked in layers. By the way, the word means “branch” and refers to the many branches of the cake. Skruzdelynas is a sweet biscuit made of several parts, which are sprinkled with poppy seeds and glazed with honey and nuts. Translated, the word means “anthill”.