As an initiative by the United Nations, March 20 is celebrated as the International Day of Happiness. In Lithuania, this celebration was first celebrated last year as an idea implemented by the team of Kaunas European Capital of Culture. Widely celebrated last year, this day returns to Kaunas and Kaunas District this year as well. The full programme is available at www.laimesdiena.lt.
According to the CEO of Kaunas 2022 Ms. Virginija Vitkienė, the idea of this year’s Day of Happiness is about serious or even painful things to be discussed against a festive background and, thus, attract the public attention to relevant yet frequently forgotten topics.
“The slogan of this year’s Day of Happiness ‘Give way to happiness’ is a statement about the fact that usually the cultural city life and public spaces are accessible only to a young, healthy person, but for a large part of the society, it is hard to access or not accessible at all,” says Ms. Vitkienė.
According to her, this year, the team of Kaunas 2022 invited organisations and communities operating in Kaunas and its district to open its door wider for everyone at least for one day, especially take into consideration those who might find it difficult to climb the stairs, thresholds, those who cannot hear the stories or see the paintings.
“We are very happy that we have welcomed over 100 initiatives that will take place during the International Day of Happiness in Kaunas and Kaunas District on March 20,” says Ms. Vitkienė.
Sminar with presenters from abroad and the street nearby
On the occasion of the International Day of Happiness, the team of Design for Happiness programme of Kaunas 2022 organises the seminar “The Culture of Accessibility and the Art of Approaching: Experiences Worthy of Happiness”, with reports to be delivered and discussions carried out by art therapists and cultural operators from Italy, the Netherlands or the neighbouring street.
“You do not have to look far for examples how to make culture more accessible. Ms. Rūta Stepanovaitė, director of Kaunas Artists’ House, will invite everyone to share their experience of good practice. Colleagues from Poland will also tell how they have managed to organise a large music festival adapted for people with special needs, and literature reading nights for the deaf,” says Ms. Jūratė Tutlytė, curator of Design for Happiness programme.
According to her, the seminar taking place in President Valdas Adamkus Library will attract the attention of cultural operators and organisers as well as specialists and families that have been exposed to the cases of Alzheimer’s and dementia, since the event will welcome a guest from Italy, Dr. Ivo Cilesi will talk about the application of art therapy for vulnerable people and treatment of their families.
“We want to raise awareness about physical and internal barriers that we all face in the everyday life: on the street, at school or a museum, but more importantly, we want to speak about how to overcome the exclusion, so accessibility becomes the everyday norm. After all, we are happy together,” says Ms. Tutlytė.
“Silent” concerts at the station
During the Day of Happiness, Kaunas and Kaunas District will enjoy an evening concert in Kaunas Railway Station: three performers will play here at the same time, namely Manfredas, Paulius Kilbauskas and „Flash Voyage“ band. Different melodies will not get mixed up, because there will be over 400 headphones dedicated to the audience. During them, everyone will be able to listen to a performer they prefer.
“On the evening of March 20, the station will be lit in the colour of lime. A fruit, which is the symbol of our this year’s celebration. Various entertainment opportunities will wait outside the Railroad Station. It will be possible to taste lime lemonade or simply chill on a meadow provided for the event by Kaunas Botanical Garden,” tells organiser of the Day of Happiness, Ms. Irutė Tumaitė.