Estonians, Lithuanians and Latvians are famously known as “the singing countries”, thanks to their beautiful Song and Dance Celebration traditions. For the Baltic nations, songs and dances are not only about having fun – they are also closely related to a strong desire to strive for a freedom to live in their our sovereign countries and to follow their own rules. Folk songs helped the Baltic nations regain their Independence at the end of the last century. Under the communist oppression, song and dance had become crucial for preserving the Baltic identity. Sensing the power of song, the participants rehearsed their Singing Revolutions during each Celebration. This tradition was carried forward by the young students, whose preservation of the Baltic cultures signified a strong desire to exert their independence and strive for their nation's freedom.
Since the festival began in 1956,"Gaudeamus“ has taken place in turns in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania every few years. The festival was last hosted by Vilnius in 1999 and 2011, and finally, having entertained the Latvian and Estonian audiences, it has returned to Vilnius in June of 2022.The festival included three days of open air concerts, dance and on Sunday the 26th of June, a musical parade down the main street of old town, Vilnius, which is where these images were shot.
The organizers noted that the participants of Gaudeamus Song and Dance Celebration 2022 are not any ordinary university students. They are the first generation of students who were born in the third millennium. While they may not be aware of it yet, their generation has a truly unique role to play in determining humanity’s fate. As children of the third millennium, they are unsullied by the horrors and sins of the 20th century and they are humanity’s brightest hope for a fresh start in the years to come. In speaking about the mission of these students, the festival organizers declared:
"At Gaudeamus, thousands of us are united in song and dance. And sometimes, a simple act of holding hands can shape the future. Just remember the Baltic Way. You have the same power in you.Stand up!For what is right, for what is moral, for those who need your help. For these are the values of the Gaudeamus Festival. Evil triumphs only when people stop caring, so keep standing UP. Always!Slava Ukraine.We're UP! "