The September 22 date for Baltic Unity Day is chosen in commemoration of the Battle of Šiauliai (Saule in Latvian) in 1236 when pagan tribes decisively defeated the Livonian Sword Brothers, a band of Vatican-sponsored crusaders who were intent upon converting the tribes to Christianity by any means necessary, including military might.
The Baltic tribes resisting forced conversion were led by the Samogitians who defeated the Sword Brothers and in fact held out until 1387 when Lithuania officially converted to Christianity.
Since 2000, the Latvian and Lithuanian Parliaments have proclaimed Baltic Unity Day as an official date on the calendar, with particular emphasis on the close relationship between the two nations.
Whatever you do, don't make the mistake of including Estonia as a 'Baltic' nation. It's considered a 'Baltic state', but as Estonians will quickly inform you if you call them Balts, the Estonian language is Finno-Ugric, not Baltic.
Various events are planned to mark the occasion, with large bonfires a particular favorite. Meanwhile, officials took to social media to remind the public of the occasion, with Foreign Minister Krišjānis Kariņš switching to Lithuanian.
Mus vienija tos pačios baltiškos šaknys, bendras gintarinės jūros krantas ir šiaurietiškos gamtos užgrūdinimas.— Krišjānis Kariņš (@krisjaniskarins) September 22, 2023
Stovėdami petys petin esame jėga!
Sveikinu latvius ir lietuvius Baltų vienybės dieną!🇱🇻🇱🇹@GLandsbergis pic.twitter.com/aI5wvA4n2E
President Edgars Rinkēvičs offered something in English while his U.S. tour continues.
Today Latvians and Lithuanians celebrate Balts’ Unity Day, congratulations to our brothers and sisters in #Lithuania! We belong to unique language group and share common values, and common history fighting for liberty @GitanasNauseda #BaltuVienībasDiena #BaltųVienybėsDiena🇱🇻🤝🇱🇹— Edgars Rinkēvičs (@edgarsrinkevics) September 22, 2023