For years now, the Embassies of the EU member states in Washington DC open their doors on the second Saturday of May. This event on Europe Day is a chance for Americans of the Capital region to experience Europe. It is a bit like being able to visit Europe for less than $ 5 a day.
David Pivoriunas fiddling Lithuanian folk tunes  Photo Ludo Segers
David Pivoriunas fiddling Lithuanian folk tunes Photo Ludo Segers

This year the Lithuanian Ambassador to the USA, Žygimantas Pavilionis expressed his solidarity with Ukraine and hosted several Ukrainian organisations. This year, the visitors could also buy a number of Ukrainian souvenirs with all the proceeds going to hospitals and other needy organisations in Ukraine. More than 3000 visitors savoured Lithuanian and Ukrainian culture, food and drinks. The rich flavour of Lithuanian cheese and bits of herring with tasty dark bread was very popular. During lunch hour there was also ample sampling of warm Ukrainian dishes.

The Open House allows for a unique glimpse inside the EU embassies in the US Capital and this year. At noontime, a long line with eager visitors could be seen outside the Embassy. Many Lithuanian Americans from the Capital region brought some of their friends to share the rich heritage of their home country. It was a warm summer day in Washington and David Pivoriunas entertained the large crowd playing Lithuanian folk tunes on his fiddle outside, whilst his charming wife Violeta provided some free folkdance lessons to a good number of enthusiastic participants.

Inside the ambassador's wife, Lina Pavilionienė dressed in a traditional Lithuanian costume shared her extensive knowledge of everything Lithuanian. The guests also learned about the famous beautiful Ukrainian egg creations and saw a demonstration of traditional Lithuanian straw crafted ornaments. Quizmaster Nora Vazbytė tested and entertained the visitors' knowledge of Lithuanian cultural and touristic facts with a possibility to win some prizes. This year Nora added also some Ukrainian facts. Many learned that the deepest metro station in the world is actually located in Kiev!

The EU Open House is a yearly event organised by the DC Cultural Agency in coordination with EU Representation in Washington. Free bus services bring the visitors around town to the various embassies. The visitors receive a passport, stamped by each country upon entry in the embassy. Many are eager to collect all the 28 stamps!

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