The Lithuanian national anthem was composed by Dr. Vincas Kudirka. In fact, it was his poem titled "National Hymn", published in 1898 in the newspaper Varpas edited by Kudirka. At the time (the press ban era) the Lithuanian press published many patriotic poems and songs. As they sang the songs and read and recited the poems, Lithuanians understood more deeply and became mote conscious of love for their nation and a desire to win freedom. Dr. Kudirka did not intend his poem to become the Lithuanian anthem. He did not live to see the Declaration of Independence and did not know that his "National Hymn" had become the foremost and greatest expression of love for one's land - the National Anthem. The "National Hymn" was first performed by a chorus under the direction of composer Ceslovas Sasnauskas at a concert on
November 13, 1899. The concert was held in St. Petersburg, Russia where a large number of Lithuanians lived at the time. Dr. V Kudirka had just recently died. Even then, some intellectuals (i.e. Kazys Grinius, later President of Lithuania) began to call the "National Hymn" the National Anthem. In Vilnius, Lithuanians heard the "National Hymn" for the first time on December 3, 1905. The concert was performed on the eve of the Great Council of Lithuania. Afterward, the song spread throughout Lithuania and was sung on diverse solemn ( occasions. When Lithuania became independent, the "National Hymn" was officially proclaimed the National Anthem (1919). Its title was changed to the first three words of the first verse: Lietuva, tevyne musu ("Lithuania, Our Homeland").
On numerous occasions sing another song by the beloved national poet Maironis: Lietuva brangi, mano tevyne ("Lithuania, My Beloved Homeland"). This song has become like a substitute National Anthem.
Lithuania, my homeland, land of heroes!
Let your Sons draw strength from the past.
Let your children follow only the paths of virtue,
working for the good of their native land and for all mankind.
Let the sun banish all darkness from Lithuania,
with light and truth always guiding our steps.
Let the love of Lithuania burn in our hearts
and for the sake of our country let unity blossom.