|Doctrines|| ||In Baltic religion, all of nature is
considered sacred and the Earth is the universal mother. The Baltics have
a seasonal cycle of eight festivals - the solstices and equinoxes are
celebrated, together with four other festivals important in the
agricultural year (see Paganism).|
|History|| ||Until recently the Baltic
region lay under Soviet control. However, following the collapse of
Communism, the pre-Christian traditions have become integral to the
aspirations of newly emerged countries such as Lithuania, Latvia and
Estonia to establish their own distinctive national identities.|
Baltic religion is one of the most active and living traditions of European religion; traditional folklore with its record of Pagan deities was used for nationalistic purposes, and as late as 1960 the Soviet authorities abolished Midsummer as a national holiday. Christianity came late to the Baltics and the people proudly retained their pre-Christian heritage, boasting of being the last Christianized region in Europe. Today, Pagan gatherings attract many thousands of people who believe that participating in the rites of their ancestors is an important part of their cultural heritage.
In Lithuania there is a strong Pagan church and an organisation called Romuva (after the Medieval Lithuanian central pagan temple) which promotes Lithuanian Paganism and is also active amongst the Lithuanian community in the United States. Modern Lithuanian Paganism was formally restored in 1967, repressed by the Soviets in 1971, and tolerated since 1988. A similar organisation operates in Latvia, called Dievturiba, after Dievs the sky-god who, along with Laima, goddess of life, is believed to determine the fate of humans. Its Pagan tradition is known as Dievturi, and its aims are to live in harmony with Nature and other members of society and to follow the will of the Gods.
|Symbols|| ||See Paganism.|
|Adherents|| ||There are no official
figures for the number of adherents of traditional Baltic religion.|
| ||Baltic religion has no headquarters or main centre.
However, there is an elected representative and contact point for the
Baltic Rite: Jonas Trinkunas, LT-2009 Vilnius, Vivlskio 27-4, Lithuania|