Lithuanian state symbols
The official Lithuanian state symbols are enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and consist of a flag, a coat of arms, and the national anthem. The Constitution stipulates that “the colours of the flag of the State shall be yellow, green, and red. The coat of arms of the State shall be a white Vytis on a red field. The coat of arms and the flag of the State, as well as their use, shall be established by law. The anthem of the State shall be Tautiška Giesmė by Vincas Kudirka.”
The Law on the National Coat of Arms, Emblems, and Other Insignias of the Republic of Lithuania contains regulations on the national flag and the historical (armorial) flag of Lithuania. The Law on the National Coat of Arms, Emblems, and Other Insignias of the Republic of Lithuania governs the use of the coat of arms and the historical national symbols of Lithuania: the Double Cross and the Columns of Gediminids.
National coat of arms
The national coat of arms of Lithuania is Vytis. The heraldic shield features the field Gules (red) with an armoured knight on a horse salient Argent (white). The knight is holding in his dexter hand a sword Argent above his head. A shield Azure hangs on the sinister shoulder of the knight with a double cross Or (yellow) on it. The horse saddle, horsecloth, straps, and belts are Azure. The hilt of the sword and the fastening of the sheath, the stirrups, the curb bits of the bridle, the horseshoes, as well as the decoration of the harness, are Or (gold).
Use in the Seimas
National flag of Lithuania
The national flag of the Republic of Lithuania is a national emblem in the form of a piece of cloth consisting of three equal horizontal coloured stripes arranged with the yellow above, the green in the middle, and the red below. Width and length ratio of the national flag is 3:5. The vertically hoisted national flag of Lithuania must feature the yellow stripe on the heraldic right with the green stripe in the middle and the red stripe on the left.
Use in the Seimas
Historical national (armorial) flag of Lithuania
The historical national (armorial) flag of Lithuania is a historical symbol of the state of Lithuania in the form of a piece of cloth featuring a red field with a white (silver) armoured knight on a white (silver) horse holding in his right hand a white (silver) sword above his head. A blue shield with a double yellow (gold) cross on it hangs on the left shoulder of the knight.
Use in the Seimas
National anthem of Lithuania
The National Song (Lith. Tautiška giesmė) was chosen as the national anthem of Lithuania. Its lyrics were written and the music adapted by Vincas Kudirka. The lyrics with the melody of the National Song were first published in Issue No 6 of the newspaper Varpas (Engl. The Bell) in 1898. The first ever public performance of the song took place in Saint Petersburg on 13 November 1899 during a concert dedicated to raising funds to support Lithuanian students. It was first publicly performed in Vilnius, Lithuania, in 1905. The National Song was recognised as the Lithuanian national anthem prior to the restoration of the state of Lithuania on 16 February 1918.
Performance at the Seimas
Other Lithuanian heraldic symbols
Since the late 14th century, two other historical symbols, namely, the Double Cross and the Columns of the Gediminids, have been widely used in public life. Once used as personal insignias of the grand dukes of Lithuania, they later became emblems of dynasties and gradually turned into national symbols representing the whole Lithuanian nation. The Double Cross and the Columns of the Gediminids were particularly widely used in the first half of the 20th century following the restoration of the independent state of Lithuania. These symbols were brought into play as distinctive signs of the Lithuanian army, police, aviation and other public authorities. They were used to decorate Lithuanian orders, medals and insignias, and became attributes of numerous public societies and organisations.
Columns of the Gediminids
The Columns of the Gediminids are featured in yellow (gold) on a red shield or without it. It is by far the most mysterious of the symbols, surrounded by legends. In the early 16th century, Lithuanian chroniclers identified the shape of the symbol as columns. Since 1397, the Columns of the Gediminids were used on the coat of arms of Grand Duke Vytautas of Lithuania.
The Double Cross is featured in yellow (gold) on a blue shield and is an integral part of the Lithuanian national coat of arms. The symbol may also be used independently both on a shield and without it. The Double Cross was portrayed on a knight’s shield for the first time in 1386.