Europe Summer Solstice Events

Romuva in Lithuania – Summer Solstice Celebration

Join Romuva in their Summer Solstice Celebrations at one of two popular locations in Lithuania.

Romuva FB

Offerings to the fire being made by the Head Priestess in a traditional Romuva Ceremony, Image Attribution: Romuva

What: Summer Solstice Celebration: The Holy Day of Rasa
Where: Lithuania
Location 1:   Vilnius
Details: Verkiai Park,  Žaliųjų ežerų g. 53  Vilnius Direcions
Location 2. Kernave (40 KM from Vilnius)
Details: Širvintos district (Well known archaeological site) Directions
When: June 23rd 2016 – June 24th 2016  Time: 19:00 – sunrise
Who: Romuva

The Romuva movement is part of the movement of rebirth of ancient spiritualities in Europe. This renaissance is occurring very naturally and regularly, because its time has come. We can rejoice that the Baltics and other European nations have preserved the richest resources for this movement – their ethnic cultures, which will serve faithfully in the movement of nature worshipers in Europe.  – Inija Trinkuniene, Head Priestess

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Romuva Participants celebrating to the morning sun. Image attribution: Flickr User Mantas LT

About: Join Romuva in their Summer Solstice Celebrations at one of two popular locations in Lithuania.

The Vilnius celebrations, located in Lithuania’s capital will be organised in Verkiai Park, situated on the bank of the Neris River, a popular destination surrounded by forest, castles, lakes, hills and a sacred spring known by the locals for its healing properties. If you are not accustomed to the language or the Baltic celebration, the Verkiai location is a good choice as the event is condensed to a general area thereby making it easy to follow along if you are not familiar with the schedule.

The Kernave celebrations will be organized in a famous archaeological location on over 400 acres (196 hectares), holding several ancient sites linked to the countries’ pagan roots including 130 burial grounds, as well as spectacular views of the Neris River. This is a popular location for the Romuva Summer celebrations gathering up to 3000 participants.

Summer Solstice MLT

Summer Solstice or Holy Day of Rasa at Verkiai Park. Image Attribution: Flicr User Mantas LT

Celebrate the Baltic Solstice through the night with joyful festivities of chant, song, ritual dance, ceremonial practices around the fire as well as ancient prayers and offerings to the Gods and Goddesses connected to the Solstice time including the God of Thunder ‘Perkunas’, The Goddess of the Earth ‘Jemina’ and the Goddess of Fire ‘Gabija’.

Below is an excerpt from an article by Inija Trinkuniene, Head Priestess of Romuva detailing elements of their summer solstice festivities:

Rasa, which means dew, was regarded as a fundamental manifestation of life force in ancient times. It has divining qualities on solstice morning.

Simonas Daukantas [Lithuanian Writer/Historian] wrote “Before that holiday, everything under the sun went to the sacred rivers and lakes to bathe, to become young, and if one followed the rites carefully, he would become wise and clairvoyant. There was no happier holiday than Rasa, because, as they say, on that morning the sun dances.”

At this time, most healing herbs are possessed of great strength and potency. On the eve of Rasa, young women engage in the holy gathering of herbs (kupoliauti). The specific herbs for this day, or Kupoles, as they are called are: daisies, St. John’s Wort, bilberries and any yellow blossoming herb (melampyrum nemorosum). “Kupeti” – means to grow healthily, to sprout through the earth.

The kupole which is a branched pole is placed in the center of the ritual area. The top of the pole is triple branched (which is reflected in the rune ascribed to this feast day). In eastern Lithuania it is explained that this is a miraculous growth with three branches, one of which blooms like the Sun, the other – like the Moon, and the third – like a Star. . […]

Summer

Girl with wreath at the Summer Solstice or Holy Day of Rasa at Verkiai Park. Image Attribution: Flickr User Mantas LT

Rasa is a wreath-making holiday. Maidens make wreaths from magical herbs (kupoles) and place them on their brows. Wreaths decorate homes, doors and gates. The men adorn themselves with wreaths of oak leaves. During the night, everyone goes to sacred rivers and lakes and cast these wreaths in the water. Candles are attached to the wreaths. […]

Rasa Svente

Summer Solstice Festival Evening, by the Sacred Gate. Image Attribution: Romuva

Gates are constructed from poles with the appropriate rune atop and decked in greenery. Each person that enters through the gates becomes a participant in the Rasa rites. Around one pole of the gate, maidens circle and around the other – young men. They bow and greet each other as they pass, circling through the gate while a daina is sung. One strives to greet the summer solstice partner of choice.

According to our custom, the “old fire” is extinguished with pure water and a new, holy fire is kindled. The sacred “aukuras” (ritual fire) is addressed. We bid goodbye to the setting Sun and honour nature by the placing wreaths near the fire. Newlyweds carry the new kindled fire to their homes. This fire is sacred and blesses their home.

Apart from regular campfires, fires are lit upon poles made with naves, birch-bark, tar, etc. The flaming “sun wheels” are set loose to roll down hills.

Throughout the night everyone feasts and rejoices. Then everyone addresses the dawn, the rising Sun and delight in Her dancing. – Inija Trinkuniene, Head Priestess (Talking about the summer solstice)

Clothing: Traditional Baltic attire is optional.

Language: Lithuanian

Below is a video from the 2012 Holy Day of Rasa Festival in Verkiai Park, Vilnius, Lithuania

Please note: this event is not run by The Spiritual Sun. Please contact the organizers directly or visit their website if you would like more details about this event.

Back to the traditional celebrations page.

About the author

Olga

8 Comments

  • Thanks Olga, I really enjoyed your information and the video. It’s unbelievable at how many people turned out for the 2012 Holy Day of Rasa Festival. I’d love to understand what they’re saying/singing but it’s still very nice to watch so many people having such a great time celebrating.

  • This is amazing. Just looking at the pictures inspires me. I would love a crown of flowers like that. We used to make them as kids, though a much simpler version.

    It’s also interesting that it’s on June 23, which is also when we celebrate the summer solstice in Norway, though we also call it St John day. I think we’ve blended the two days together. Their version feels much more spiritual though. We have bonfires, and games and food, but there isn’t really a spiritual theme to the celebration. I remember also learning about gathering flowers during summer solstice night, because they were especially magical then.

    • That’s really nice Anne linn, that you grew up in a place where there were still some remnants of the these celebrations and doing some of those activties as a child.

      I think most city folk today would not be able to make a flower wreath without it falling apart (inclduing me.) 🙂 Or even how to chop wood and get a proper bonfire started.

  • Great find Olga, especially finding some writings written by the head priestess giving first-hand explanations of their event.

    Like Lucia I also really like the quote from Trinkuniene at the start of the article. 🙂 There’s some wisdom there. It does indeed seem that in many people around the world there’s a genuine yearning to get back in touch with the ways of nature, spirituality, the Sun etc. And more and more people are coming together to have ceremonies to celebrate and revive this.
    Perhaps it is the genetic memory of their ancestors? Perhaps a feeling of our own memory from past lives? Perhaps just consciousness’ reaction to modern life’s emptiness of TV, pseudo socialness of digital communications, tiredness of the political show etc.?

    Another point from that first quote also makes sense. Unlike some other old cultures there are (as far as I understand) not many, if any, writings from the old Slavic culture before Christianity for example. So it’s very difficult to find out what the pagan spirituality worshipped at that time was like. However some of that spirituality did remain in their traditions and ceremonial rites. Which is something that they can use today, although I would imagine that a lot of the original knowledge has been lost.

    That’s why The Path of the Spiritual Sun book can become such an amazing thing! Explaining the deeper universal connected knowledge of the spirituality of the Sun. Information which people can use to revive their own people’s ancient traditions with the understanding of the universal principles contained in them.

  • It’s nice to see a few generations celebrating together. Seeing that that special feeling towards the Sun at its peak seems to be universally attractive is encouraging. 🙂

    And I didn’t know Lithuanians also have bagpipes!

    • I didn’t even consider that Pavlin, yeah there seem to be more of connection between the old and the young.

      Nice video documenting the holy day of Rosa btw. To be able to see a bit of the celebrations, without being able to be there yourself. That singing around the bonfire at the start is very warm, they’re almost creating a continuous sound with their voices. Would be interesting to know what they’re singing about. The call and repeat with lady singing was also very nice, same again with the older man, as well as the singing in canon…. In fact the whole ceremony had a pleasant flow to it. 🙂

      The atmosphere of the folk dancing and festivities later in the evening reminds me a bit of Bilbo’s onehundredandeleventh birthday in the Shire 😉

  • Very pretty, thank you Olga for putting all this info together. I really liked the quote from Inija Trinkuniene on the beginning of the article, where she explains how all these celebrations that have been revived all through Europe are a part of the natural course of events, because “the time has come”. How interesting and wonderful that its not only the Darkness that is spreading everywhere in the world, but also the Light, in this beautiful way, calling people everywhere to join. I am certainly looking forward to making some beautiful wreaths this year. 🙂

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