Tuesday, January 4, 2022

2022 Travel the World - Week 1

I started a 50-week series in 2019 that I called Travel the World. Each week of the series I visited a randomly-selected country, sharing bits of information about that country. I then chose one tidbit of information about that week's country as inspiration for a card. As I explored those 50 countries in 2019, I knew I would continue on until I've visited every one of the 195 countries in the world, so I continued the series in 2020 and again in 2021. I paused a short while in 2021, after the loss of my mother, but I'm ready to start traveling virtually again and plan to complete my journey to all 195 countries by visiting the last 50 this year. 

This week's country is...

Lithuania

Lithuania is situated on the eastern shore of the Baltic Sea and borders Latvia on the north, Belarus on the east and south, and Poland and the Kaliningrad region of Russia on the southwest.

It is about 3/4 the size of Scotland.

Lithuania is a country of gently rolling hills, many forests, rivers and streams, and lakes. There are 6,000 lakes in the country.

Lithuania's coast is 56 miles long.

By the end of the 14th century, Lithuania was the largest country in all of Europe and one of the continents most powerful empires. 

The language spoken in Lithuania is the oldest language in the world.

One of the longest words in the Lithuanian language is “nebeprisiki┼íkiakop┼źsteliaujantiesiems”. This is a very long word with thirty-seven letters, and the rough meaning is a group of people who used to go to the forest to pick grass for the rabbits. However, such activities are no longer available in Lithuania; hence the word is rarely used.

Around a third of the country is forestland.

When trekking through the magical forests of Lithuania you may encounter all sorts of wildlife from foxes, wolves and deer to beavers, mink and hundreds of birds.

It has the oldest oak tree in Europe, called The Stelmuze Oak, which is 75 feet high, and is more than 1,500 years old. It requires 8-9 people just to hug its trunk.

The national animal is the stork. Lithuania has one of the largest stork population in any European country, and more specifically the highest nesting density in the world for this bird. Many Lithuanians superstitiously believe that storks bring luck and harmony to the families near which they nest.

Lithuania has the largest moving sand dunes in Europe, and it is why many people flock to the region for the natural beauty.

Lithuania is the only country in the world with its own official scent, called the Scent of Lithuania.

Basketball is the most popular sport in Lithuania.

Lithuania has one of the fastest internet connections in the world.

Every year Lithuania's river Vilnia is dyed bright emerald green for St. Patrick’s Day. 

The Easter eggs are not brought by some cute and fluffy bunnies, it is the Easter Granny ( Velyk┼│ Bobute) who does that job in Lithuania. The bunnies only help her decorate the eggs and load up her cart. She has a sunbeam whip to hurry her small pony with, as she delivers eggs early on Easter morning when the children are still asleep. Children always prepare in advance for the Easter Granny by leaving empty handmade egg nests outside their homes in gardens and shrubs.

Shrove Tuesday marks the end of winter and welcomes the new spring. Traditionally, this is celebrated by wearing masks and costumes and then going around the community to visit your neighbors. Each house has a really nice spread to welcome guests, who share a bite and a drink together. 

Another holiday is Rasos & Joninas Day or Midsummer. In the morning, young ladies wash their faces with clear dew. Later on a massive bonfire is created where people place their secret wishes into a wish or spell bag that’s placed in water. Young couples then saunter into the forest to look for fern blossoms. As ferns don’t have blossoms, this is actually just a nice excuse for the young lovers to take a romantic walk in nature. 

unique Christmas Eve tradition in Lithuania is for girls to write male names on pieces of paper, all names that randomly come into her head. They then stuff them into a pillow case which they sleep on. In the morning, they reach into the cover and pull out a name. The first one they pick will be the name of their future husband. 

One of Lithuania’s most awe-inspiring sights is the legendary Hill of Crosses. It has been a site of pilgrimage for hundreds of years. The tradition of leaving crosses began after an uprising against the Russian tsar was put down in 1831. Over the generations, not only crosses and crucifixes, but statues of the Virgin Mary, carvings of Lithuanian patriots and thousands of tiny effigies and rosaries have been brought here by Catholic pilgrims. Today there are some 200,000 crosses, carvings and shrines at the site made out of everything from wood to metal.

There’s a hill of witches, too. It features about 80 wooden characters linked to Lithuanian folklore and pagan traditions.

There is a theme park in Lithuania which recreates life as a USSR citizen. Visitors have their belongings confiscated, have to wear gas masks, experience interrogation, and must learn the Soviet anthem. At the end of the three-hour experience, their reward is a shot of vodka

The capital city of Vilnius apparently has its own anonymous swing foundation. While there is no website or social media about this secretive group, locals and visitors have said that swings pop up randomly around the city in different locations.

Lithuania grows potatoes, grains, flax and sugar beet; they also rear cattle and catch fish.

Its industry consists of textiles, clothing, chemicals and the manufacture of electric motors, television sets, refrigerators, freezers and metal cutting machine tools.

Lithuania exports textiles and clothing, machinery and equipment, chemicals and mineral products.

My inspiration for this week's card is based on this fact about Lithuania... The number of hot air balloons in the country is the highest ratio of hot air balloons per person in the world.


Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

Stamp/Die Set: SU Lift Me UP stamped with Lawn Fawn Lobster and Manatee and Memento Tuxedo Black Inks

Paper: Recollections Ivory and SU Old Olive CS and DP from my scrap file

Dies: MFT Stitched Rectangles

Embellishments: Enamel Dots from an unknown vendor

4 comments:

jenn shurkus said...

Beautiful card!! As I mentioned on Facebook, I am Lithuanian- my great grandparents came from Lithuania to New Hampshire. I loved reading all the information you gathered! Thank you!

kiwimeskreations said...

What a fascinating country Jeanette - thanks for sharing all this information. Loving your card, that is fabulous
Stay safe
Blessings
Maxine

Patti J said...

What a beautiful country! The oak tree is majestic, I love the hill of crosses - would love to see that in real life, and what a fun story about the granny! Great travel break for me today - thank you!!! Love your card, someone will be happy to get this in their mailbox! Thanks for sharing - have a blessed day...

Lynn McAuley said...

What an interesting country. Love your fabulous hot-air balloon design!!