For long centuries verbal and musical creations, dances and games have been an important part of both the spiritual life and the practical activities of the Lithuanians. Although folklore has already lost touch with natural surroundings, it has kept coming to the attention of the public more and more often during the past few decades. It has become an object of investigation, a source for free interpretation by state ensembles (which call themselves folk companies). To this day folklore has always been alive in the spiritual world outlook of the older generation. Folklore files are constantly increased by new pieces. In 1988 the files of the Manuscript Department of the Institute of the Lithuanian Language and Literature contained over 1 100 000 items, while the files of the Folk Music Laboratory of the Conservatory of Lithuania had about 70 000 pieces.
The mid 60's saw the appearance of the first ethnographic groups: - in 1966 the ethnographic group of Kupiskis announced its birth by putting on a concert entitled "An ancient wedding in Kupiskis"; in 1968 an ethnographic group was founded in Vilnius University; in 1974 a professional folklore theater was set up in the Country Life Museum in Rumsiskes.
In the recent years there has been a great upsurge in the folkloric movement. There are about 1000 ethnographic and folklore groups. Ethnographic groups exist mostly in villages and perform the folklore of their own locality. Folk groups exist in towns and cities, they unite people from different ethnic groups, therefore they perform the folklore of different region. Lithuania folk songs and dances are also dear to the hearts of our emigres.
Folklore festivals are held regularly in Rumsiskes (the festival called Ant mariu krantelio "On the sea shore"), in Vilnius (Skamba skamba kankliai), in Kaunas (Atataria lumzdiai). In 1987 the first international folklore festival Baltica took place in Vilnius (In 1988 in Riga, in 1989 in Tallinn). In 1990 it took place in Kaunas. For the first time a folklore day was included in the National Song Festival in 1990.
J. Kudirka "THE LITHUANIANS"