Many countries take pride in their national symbols. For example, the national bird of the United States is the bald eagle, Britain’s national dish is the Sunday roast, and Germany has a special status for the blue cornflower. However, Lithuania is the only nation with a national scent. Developed by Galimard, the Scent of Lithuania is a blend of bergamot, wild flowers, ginger, raspberry and grapefruit, with base notes of amber, cedar, sandalwood, patchouli, and tree moss and tree smoke.
Either firsthand or through stories and myths, we have all come into contact with the idea that storks bring babies. While this myth has fallen out of favour with many, it is still prevalent with Lithuanians, and for good reason: the stork is the national bird, with around 50,000 storks calling the country home.
Though we may consider it one of the small Baltic States, 600 years ago, Lithuania was the largest country in Europe, reaching from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea and from Lublin, Poland to Smolensk, Russia.
Speaking of Russia and Poland, with both claiming to be the origin of vodka distillation, Lithuania has also made an interesting contribution to the clear spirit’s development. Unlike, Russia, who uses cereal grain as the initial starch, or Poland, who is famous for potato vodka, Lithuania was the first to product vodka using corn.
While thoroughly modern, Lithuania has its share of old superstitions. Giving the gift of black bread with salt is a wish for good luck, whistling indoors is said to be a call for evil little devils, and, if you’re unwed, sitting at the corner of a table can assure that you will never get married.
Before becoming the first Baltic State to declare independence from the Soviet Union, the country did something interesting to show Baltic solidarity, on August 23, 1989, Lithuania organised a 600km long chain of people holding hands across the Baltic States.
Lithuania is a land of contrast: sandwiched between Polish football enthusiasts and hockey-mad Russia, Lithuania’s national sport is basketball; moreover, though it was the last European country to convert to Christianity in 1387, Pope John Paul II’s mother was of Lithuanian descent.
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