Think smoked bacon (lasinukai), pickled gherkins (agurkeliai), herring with beetroots (silke pataluose), white potato salad (balta misraine), dark garlic bread (duona su cesnaku), and potato dumplings with meat (cepelinai). Your every trip back to Lithuania involves eating all of these, if possible all at once.
2. Basketball is your second (if not first) religion.
Basketball is the only sport that all 3 million Lithuanians are passionate about. Wherever in the world you would be, you will not have to look far for a bar filled with Lithuanians in yellow, green and red t-shirts bearing Lithuanian flags in one hand and a beer in the other — and they’ll welcome you like a best friend to watch the match together.
3. You love camping!
Lithuania is a country of stunning lakes and forests, so come summer you gather friends, pack your tent, and head off for a long weekend of camping. These camping trips include mushroom and berry picking, fishing, meat grilling, and drinking by the fire (sometimes while singing traditional Lithuanian songs).
4. You know at least one more foreign language.
Because of our complicated historical past, you’re likely to know at least one more language. Russian, English, German, or Polish are among the most popular ones.
5. You can survive the big fat Lithuanian wedding.
Traditional Lithuanian weddings last two whole days and they’re filled with hearty feasts and enormous amounts of drinking.
The wedding party starts with welcoming the guests with a shot of vodka, a slice of dark bread, and salt. That’s before the party even begins. There’s also a bunch of games (all of them include drinking): The Best Man steals the bride and is then hung for it, the groom chops the wood, the bride changes diapers on the dolls to make sure they have what it takes to have a family. You invite everyone you know — the bigger, the better!
6. You never sit at the corner of the table if you’re a girl.
You know that sitting at the corner of the table means you will never get married!
7. You expect wooden spoons under the Christmas tree if you were naughty.
If you were naughty, or found your Christmas presents and didn’t do the best job of packing them back up after you’d checked them all out, you know to expect a set of wooden spoons under the tree on Christmas morning.
8. You read “The War of Mushrooms” at least once in your life.
“The War of Mushrooms” by J. Marcinkevicius is a book that every kid reads when they are little. Re-reading the story as an adult is even more fascinating, as you notice the hidden clues to the relationships between family members, the constant arguing and blaming each other for not being good enough. Maybe it shouldn’t be a kid’s book after all…
9. You most likely gifted someone amber.
Amber is a national stone of Lithuania that comes from the Baltic Sea — it’s believed to have healing powers and we are very proud of it. Hence, when it comes to buying presents for your friends or families abroad, amber is usually your first choice.
10. You “book” a spot on the beach.
Lithuania has a very short summer. When the temperature rises, the beautiful beaches of the Baltic coast fill up with crowds. If you want a good spot on the beach you will wake up early and put your towel down, then you’ll go and enjoy your breakfast before returning to spend the rest of the day under the sun.
11. Lithuanians are the most beautiful girls in the world. Fact!
You can spot a Lithuanian girl anywhere in the world. She will always be the one walking graciously, dressed up nicely with a decent amount of make-up and beautifully maintained hair. She will greet you with a smile and softly spoken “Hello.”
12. You learn to love winters.
Shovelling the snow from your driveway at -30°C may not sound too compelling. However, when you start living abroad, especially where winters are mild or don’t exist, you start missing the beautiful crisp white snow outside, being wrapped in a warm blanket sipping tea while listening to the sounds of crackling wood in the fireplace.
13. You’re a nature child.
You grew up picking apples right from the trees, running around with flocks of chicken, smelling freshly-baked bread in the morning, and getting your hands dirty gardening. And you really miss it!
14. You don’t smile to the people you don’t know well.
If you walk the streets in Lithuania you will rarely notice a person who is smiling. Don’t get offended, that’s just how we are! But once you get to know us, you will see that we are very warm and friendly people.
15. You love sun, sea, and sand.
Our summers are extremely short so we appreciate warm weather more than anyone else. When on the beach in tropical countries, you are the first one on the beach early in the morning and the last one to leave when the sun sets. You grill your body under direct sun until brown and swim in the sea no matter how salty it is.
16. You get whipped once a year (for health purposes).
An old Lithuanian custom is to beat each other with the “verba” branches (fresh or dried green branches) on a Palm Sunday. The saying goes that one must be hit on the bare legs with the “verba” to remain healthy during the coming year.
17. Drinking poppy milk is totally cool with you.
Come Christmas Eve (Kūčios) no more and no less than 12 dishes are lined up on the table, with a highlight being kūčiukai (small sweet pastries) soaked in poppy seed milk. Don’t try taking them through customs to introduce this tradition to your buddies abroad.
18. You’re experienced at explaining what the “cold pink soup” is.
As weird as the combo of beets, cucumber, dill, eggs and kefyras (kefir) may sound, the cold pink soup aka “Saltibarsciai” accompanied with boiled potatoes is actually pretty delicious!
19. You know your beers well.
Just as the French know their wines and the Scottish know their whiskies, we definitely know our beers. As a country with long beer brewing traditions, we are experts in differentiating good beers from the average ones.
20. You avoid anyone with the shaved head.
“Marozas”, “forsas” or “gezas” — you avoid them at all costs… even if that means walking an extra three blocks to reach your destination. Signs of identity: shaved head, fake Adidas trousers (usually four stripes) pulled all the way up to the armpits and t-shirt tucked in. They’re also likely to be in a group, smoking cigarettes, missing a few front teeth, and giving everyone else the death look. They will harm you. Stay away!