More than 300 people came on March 7 to celebrate the Lithuanian Independence day in Paris. It was a very good turnout given virus scares in France. The large MAS hall had activities for young and old. Lithuanian rock musician Andrius Mamontovas’ concert was definitely the highlight of the day. Photographs by Algimantas Kunčius during the closing reception provided an overview of life before and after the restoration of Independence.
Children enjoyed a very creative exercise with Elena Selena, making foldout works of art and the results were some excellent artistic cut and paste works! “Proto mūšis”, a quiz type of contest has become very popular, also among Lithuanian ex-pats. Teams were challenged in a hotly contested with several Lithuanian independence related questions. “Kurk Lietuvai” made a presentation to attract talent back to Lithuania and that event was well attended as well.
Lithuanian Ambassador to France Nerijus Aleksiejūnas, awarded the Honour Award “For Diaspora Merits to Lithuania “on behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to Inga Kvietelaitienė, the director of the Lithuanian school in Paris.
‘Let’s celebrate freedom and unity’
The Lithuanian ambassador officially opened the event, stating, “We are celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of Independence in Paris by bringing together all the Lithuanians in France.” The ambassador added, “For us, it is a celebration of freedom and unity. We want this special day to be everyone’s, including children, young people and the entire Lithuanian community in France.”
The major event for many on the celebration of Lithuanian Independence day in Paris was a concert by Andrius Mamontovas. The one-hour concert revisiting several of his successful songs with acoustic performance, saw the public revisiting their youth. Mamontovas got the audience up and dancing on several occasions and there was at times an electrifying atmosphere!
A reception after the show with plenty of Lithuanian food and drinks, combined with local French wines provided an excellent opportunity for the community to stay in touch. Yolita René presented photos by Algimantas Kunčius. Kunčius refined the fine art of observing life in the city and beaches in the great tradition of some of the French masters. It was a very fitting conclusion to show the links between the two communities.