On September 22, Lithuanians in Vilnius celebrate the autumnal equinox on the banks of the Neris River, by the King Mindaugas Bridge.The Vilnius Ethnocultural Centre once again invited local artists to construct several sculptures in memory of the goddesses of ancient times. That evening a fire and light show with music and folk songs will usher in the new season of waiting for All Souls’ Day and Christmas.
This year, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the birth of archeologist Marija Gimbutas, the theme of the equinox celebration is her concept of the matriarchal society of Old Europe, which worshipped the Goddess-Mother.
The event on the 22nd, called Goddess Bird, is meant to transport participants back to proto-Indoeuropean times, when men were guardians of forests and animals, symbols of the power of growing things. It was a time when females were leaders and givers of life, bringing health and good fortune. Descriptions of archeological artifacts researched by M. Gimbutas will be displayed along the banks of the river.
On the same day, a wider celebration commemorates Baltic Unity Day, and the 1500th anniversary of the construction of the temple of the old Baltic religion Romuva, located in what was then Šventapilė, Prussia. Bonfires will be lit at 8-9 pm on hillforts throughout the Baltic countries by followers of the ancient rite. The event is organized by leaders of the Latvian Dievturiai and Lithuanian Romuva members.