Tautiška giesmė

Tautiška giesmė
Tautiška giesmė
English: National Hymn

National anthem of

Also known as Lietuva, Tėvyne mūsų
English: Lithuania, Our Homeland
Lietuvos himnas
English: Hymn of Lithuania
Lyrics Vincas Kudirka, 1898
Music Vincas Kudirka, 1898
Adopted 1919 (again in 1988)
Relinquished 1950
Music sample

Tautiška giesmė (The National Hymn) is the national anthem of Lithuania, also known by its opening words "Lietuva, Tėvyne mūsų" (official translation of the lyrics:[1] "Lithuania, Our Homeland", literally: "Lithuania, Our Fatherland", ) and as "Lietuvos himnas" (Hymn of Lithuania). The music and lyrics were written in 1898 by Vincas Kudirka, when Lithuania was still a part of the Russian Empire. The fifty-word poem was a condensation of Kudirka's conceptions of the Lithuanian state, the Lithuanian people, and their past. Shortly after his death in 1899, the anthem was performed for Lithuanians living in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

The first public Lithuanian performance of the anthem took place in Vilnius in 1905, and it became the official national anthem in 1919, a year after Lithuania declared its independence. Following the annexation of Lithuania in 1940, by the Soviet Union, the anthem was forbidden to be played or sung in public.

"Tautiška giesmė" was reinstated as the national anthem in 1992, when the new Constitution was ratified after independence from the Soviet Union was achieved. The status of "Tautiška giesmė" as the National Anthem of Lithuania was further confirmed in 1999 with the passage of a national law stating that.



Kudirka’s portrait from a 500 Lithuanian litas banknote issued in 2000

At the time when the poem Lietuva, Tėvyne mūsų was written, Lithuania was under the control of the Russian Empire. Kudirka, a medical student at the University of Warsaw, was writing as a columnist for the newspaper Varpas (The Bell). In his Varpas columns, Kudirka urged Lithuanians to take pride in their heritage, discussed the problems the Russian Government was causing the Lithuanian population, and denounced those who wished to work for the Tsarist autocracy. In the course of writing for Varpas, he wrote down his thoughts on what Lithuania was and what it should be, resulting in the fifty-word poem called Lietuva, Tėvynė mūsų (Lithuania, Our Homeland).[2]

The poem described the heroic past of Lithuania and exhorted its people to care for the land, care for humanity, and live in honor. Kudirka also urged the country to become a source of enlightenment and virtue. Without a melody, Kudirka took the time to compose the music just before dying of tuberculosis. Both the melody and the lyrics were printed in Varpas in September 1898. Upon his death in 1899, Kudirka's tomb was engraved with the second stanza of the anthem (later destroyed by the authorities).[3]


The building where the 1905 Seimas took place. It currently houses the National Philharmonic Society of Lithuania.

Shortly after Kudirka's death, the first performance of the poem occurred at a concert in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1899. The concert was conducted by Česlovas Sasnauskas and was attended by Lithuanians, which St. Petersburg had the largest population of at that time. The anthem was first performed in Lithuania during the Great Seimas of Vilnius on December 3, 1905.

When Lithuania declared its independence from Russia in 1918, the song was declared the national anthem.[4] It held this status until Lithuania was annexed into the Soviet Union during World War II.[5] During the interwar period, there had been suggestions to modify the words to include a reference to God. It was decided, in Kudirka's memory, that the lyrics should remain as he had written them.[6][7]

Immediately following the Soviet occupation of Lithuania, the Internationale replaced the Tautiška giesmė. Later an alternate anthem was created for the Lithuanian SSR, and instated in 1950. The music for that piece was composed by Balys Dvarionas and Jonas Švedas, and the words were written originally by Antanas Venclova. Following Stalin's death in 1953, its lyrics were modified by Vacys Reimeris to removing reference to the former dictator. This anthem stated that Lenin had lit the path to freedom, helped by the Russian people, and exhorted the Lithuanian people to work with peoples of the other Soviet Republics. The anthem was confirmed in Article 169 of the 1978 Constitution of the Lithuanian SSR.[8] The song continued to be used until Lithuania broke away from the Soviet Union. Already in 1988, the "Tautiška giesmė" was suggested as a replacement for the Soviet Lithuanian anthem. After preliminary approval by the Lithuanian SSR Supreme Soviet and successive legislative bodies, its status as the national anthem was reconfirmed in 1992.[9] In that year, the Constitution of Lithuania was approved; Article 19 of the document states that "Tautiška giesmė" will be the national anthem of Lithuania.[10] The last law in relation to the national anthem was passed in 1999; it contained the official lyrics and protocol on how and when to play the anthem.[11]

1999 law

President Valdas Adamkus

Signed into law by President Valdas Adamkus on June 9, 1999, the "Law on the National Anthem of the Republic of Lithuania" details when and where the national anthem is played and its performance protocols.[11]

Article 2 of the law states that the anthem is to be played at the following occasions: At the beginning or ending of solemn sessions of the Seimas, on national holidays and memorial days, and at receptions and farewells of foreign heads of state on official visits to Lithuania—but only after the anthem of the foreign country has been played.

It is played in foreign countries to represent Lithuania, according to their own diplomatic protocols; on national holidays and other days when the Flag of Lithuania is raised by order of the government; when the flag is raised during public events sponsored by governmental institutions, business, and organizations; and at the beginning and end of National Radio programming. The anthem may also be played at other occasions, such as sporting competitions.[11]

When playing the anthem, the music may be either live or recorded. The anthem may be performed with a choir, an orchestra, a military band, or a combination of the latter two. Article 4, section 2, states that all participants are encouraged to sing the national anthem. When the anthem is played, all civilians are asked to stand in a gesture of respect to the anthem. If employees of national defense, police, and other military or military-related organizations are present, they must respect the anthem in a way prescribed by their statutes. The anthem cannot be used as background music, purposes of advertisement, or for entertainment, such as karaoke. Public disrespect of the anthem may be punishable by law.[11]



Lietuva, Tėvyne mūsų,
Tu didvyrių žeme,
Iš praeities Tavo sūnūs
Te stiprybę semia.

Tegul Tavo vaikai eina
Vien takais dorybės,
Tegul dirba Tavo naudai
Ir žmonių gėrybei.

Tegu saulė Lietuvoj
Tamsumas prašalina,
Ir šviesa, ir tiesa
Mūs žingsnius telydi.

Tegul meilė Lietuvos
Dega mūsų širdyse,
Vardan tos, Lietuvos
Vienybė težydi!

Official English translation[1]

Lithuania, our homeland,
Land of heroes!
Let your sons draw their strength
From our past experience

Let your children always follow
Only roads of virtue,
May your own, mankind’s well-being
Be the goals they work for

May the sun above our land
Banish darkening clouds around
Light and truth all along
Guide our steps forever

May the love of Lithuania
Brightly burn in our hearts.
For the sake of this land
Let unity blossom


Lietova, Tėvīn mūsa,
Tu didvīriu žeme,
Ėš praeiteis Tava sūnā
Te stiprībė seme.

Tegu Tava vakā ēna,
Vėin takās dorībes,
Tegu dėrba Tava nauda
I žmoniu gėrībe.

Tegu saulė Lietovuo
Tomsumas prašalėn,
Ė švėisa, ė tėisa
Mūsa žīngsnios telīd.

Tegu meilė Lietovuos,
Deg mūsa šėrdīs,
Vardan tōs Lietovuos
Veinībė težīdė!

See also


  1. ^ a b English Lyrics of Tautiška giesmė Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania - Retrieved 22 October 2007. Official translations are not copyrightable in Lithuanian law.
  2. ^ Poems by Vincas Kudirka members.efn.org - Retrieved 22 October 2007
  3. ^ Vincas Kudirka biography from The Lithuanian Word - Published 1970-1978 as part of the ENCYCLOPEDIA LITUANICA. spaudos.lt - Retrieved 28 July 2007.
  4. ^ Act of Independence of Lithuania (February 16, 1918) neris.mii.lt - Retrieved 22 October 2007
  5. ^ Music and lyrics omnitel.net - Retrieved 22 October 2007
  6. ^ Encyclopedia Lituanica, "National anthem", volume IV, pages 24-26
  7. ^ Antanas Klimas, Two Lithuanian Encyclopedias completed, Lituanus: Lithuanian Quarterly Journal of Arts and Sciences 25(4), Winter 1979. ISSN 0024-5089. lituanus.org - Retrieved 30 August 2006.
  8. ^ "Lietuvos TSR Konstitucijos" (in Lithuanian). 1978. http://rulzeng.50megs.com/kons.html#IX. Retrieved 2007-11-17. 
  9. ^ Books Extracts patogupirkti.lt - Retrieved 22 October 2007
  10. ^ Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania: Chapter 1, Article 19
  11. ^ a b c d Law on the National Anthem of the Republic of Lithuania - Published 9 June 2007 skelbimas.lt - Retrieved 22 October 2007

External links

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