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Lithuanian children at Vilniaus “Sietuvos” Progimnazija rang bells on Earth Day

Lithuanian children at Vilniaus “Sietuvos” Progimnazija rang bells on Earth Day
Shown here is Klaudia Merkelis, a young student at Vilniaus “Sietuvos” Progimnazija ringing a bell to celebrate Earth Day in Vilnius. Photo: Gitana Merkeliene.

Celebrating Earth Day at the exact moment of the spring equinox when night and day are equal all over the world was marked this year in both Vilnius and Kaunas, Lithuania. This was followed by the “Our Earth Is Alive”: charity concert at St. Kasmieras Church in April which was presented by UNA-Lithuania and PAGAVA, a Lithuanian Association supporting deaf and hearing impaired children and their families.

Spring is a great time to pay tribute to the earth, but don’t stop there. As a friendly reminder, the United Nations invites you to celebrate World Oceans Day on June 8, too. Taking care of oceans in Northern Europe’s Baltic Sea region, which includes Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, the Scandinavian countries, etc. deserves the attention of Baltic children, too.

This year on June 8, the United Nations will celebrate World Oceans Day with hundreds of events around the world. Why are oceans so important? According to the United Nations, “oceans generate most of the oxygen we breathe, they help to feed us, they regulate our climate, clean the water we drink”, and a lot more. The UN is encouraging children to think about what the oceans mean, while discovering the many different kinds of creatures that call the ocean home.

Earth Day on the Equinox was initiated by John McConnell (March 20-21) -with the flying of the Earth Flag. Next year, Earth Day in New York, is expected to take place on Tuesday,March 20.2018, at 12:l5 PM p.m. (New York time). However, in Vilnius, Lithuania, Earth Day on the Equinox celebrations will take place at 6:l5 p.m. (Lithuanian time.) on Tuesday, March 20, 2018. So start planning now!

In Kaunas, Father Kestutis rang bells at Vytautas Magnus Church this year at the exact moment of the spring equinox on March 20, followed by a Minute for Peace. This is a moment of silent prayer, meditation, or reflection for peace, justice, and care of earth. As usual, Izolda Geniusiene made arrangements with Father Kestutis to ring the bell three times followed by a Minute of Peace.

In Vilnius, students at Vilniaus “Sietuvos” Progrimnazija welcomed the arrival of spring with a special event at the school with the ringing of bells and a tribute to John McConnell, the founder of Earth Day on the spring equinox. Photographer Solveiga Radzeviene documented what took place at Vilniaus “Sietuvos” Progrimnazija through the beautiful, spring-inspired photographs shown here. Solveiga is the librarian and IT specialist at the school.


Pictured is a group of students at Vilniaus “Sietuvos” Progromnazija welcoming in spring. Students at the school celebrated Earth Day (Nature’s Day) on the spring equinox when night and day are equal all over the world. Photo: Solveiga Radzeviene.


Earth Day on the Equinox was observed for the first time in Lithuania on March 20, 1992 with celebrations scheduled to coincide with UN events in New York. A Proclamation was issued by Vytautas Landsbergis, President of the Supreme Council of Lithuania, to mark the occasion

In l992, at the moment of the Spring equinox, the Earth flag created by John McConnell, was raised In front of the Lithuanian Parliament building, and church bells rang around Lithuania. As Vytautas Landsbergis in his Proclamation put it, “On Earth Day, March 20, the first day of spring, bells will ring and proclaim our commitment to humanity and Planet Earth.”

Shown here are two young Lithuanian students at Vilnius “Sietuvos” Progmnacizija. The girls are holding bird houses marking the arrival of spring. Photo: Solveiga Radzeviciene.

Lithuanian music teacher Jonas Pulkauskas is shown placing a bird house high in a tree. Children were gathered around the tree. Photo: Solveiga Radzeviciene.

Ann Charles
Ann Charles is UN Bureau Chief of "Baltic Review" based in New York City. She covers diplomatic activities at United Nations Headquarters in New York and the world body's work in human rights, education, culture, the environment, and tourism, among other global concerns.

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