Lithuanian calendar

The Lithuanian calendar is unusual among Western countries in that neither the names of the months nor the names of the weekdays are derived from Greek or Norse mythology.[citation needed] They were formalized after Lithuania regained independence in 1918, based on historic names, and celebrate natural phenomena; three months are named for birds, two for trees, and the remainder for seasonal activities and features. The days of the week are simply ordinal numbers.


The Gediminas Sceptre, a medieval Lithuanian calendar
19th century Lithuanian calendars; the left in Russian, the right in Polish

Ancient Baltic cosmological schemes have been found on burial urns dated from 600-200 BC. As with other Bronze Age cultures, there were megaliths associated with the summer and winter solstices; hill enclaves with solar calendars have been discovered at Birutė Mountain near Palanga,[1] and at the Purmaliai mound near Klaipėda. A modern interpretation of the ancient solar calendar was created in 2002 at the Kretinga Museum.

Lithuanian calendar shows some similarities with Slavic calendar, and so may have roots in Proto-Balto-Slavic era.

The Gediminas Sceptre, discovered in 1680, indicates that during his reign the year started in April and was divided into 12 months, varying in length from 29 to 31 days. Each month began with a new moon; the weeks were nine days long [2] The month names on this artifact are expressed in symbols, based on natural phenomena and agricultural cycles.[3] (i.e. the sidereal month was divided into three parts).[4]

The Julian calendar was used in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania; the Gregorian calendar was adopted by the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1586, a few years after its promulgation in 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII. In 1800, following Lithuania's annexation by the Russian Empire, the Julian calendar again became the norm, although a part of ethnic Lithuania left of Nemunas River (Suvalkija) retained the Gregorian calendar (see Aleksotas).[5] The Russian Revolution of 1917 re-instated the Gregorian calendar, which had been the Western European standard for over a century, in January 1918. These changes caused some confusion before their usage became familiar.[6]

Names of the months[]

The standardization of month names was made difficult by the fact that publication in the Lithuanian language was illegal from 1864 to 1904 (see Lithuanian press ban) and some drift in the usages occurred.

Month names are not customarily capitalized in the Lithuanian language, reflecting their secular origins.

Days of the week[]

The days of the week are named in sequence, beginning with Monday. They are pirmadienis ("first day"), antradienis, trečiadienis, ketvirtadienis, penktadienis, šeštadienis, and sekmadienis. They are not ordinarily capitalized.

See also[]


  1. ^ Lithuanian archeoastronomy Archived 2007-02-02 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Libertas Klima. "Zmogus ir gamta etninëje kultûroje" (PDF). Lietuvos kultūros darbuotojų tobulinimosi centras. Retrieved 2009-01-21.
  3. ^ Cosmology of the ancient Balts
  4. ^ Straižys, Vytautas; Klimka, Libertas. "Natural rhythms and calendar". Cosmology of the Ancient Balts. Global Lithuanian Net. Retrieved 2009-01-21.
  5. ^ Timeline of Lithuanian history
  6. ^ Lithuanian calendar from the 13th to 20th centuries Archived 2007-03-02 at the Wayback Machine

External links[]