Lithuania was traditionally an agricultural society, and large families living in rural areas were once the norm. Today, however, families are smaller, and 68% of the population lives in urban areas. In some areas, there is a shortage of housing. Many Lithuanians live in apartments and maintain a small cottage in the country, where they can grow fruits and vegetables and relax outdoors.

Lithuanians tend to marry in their early twenties. Common-law marriages, although generally accepted by society, are not regarded as a legal form of marriage. The divorce rate is high and single mothers head many households. Elders are treated with respect and it is not unusual for parents to live with their adult children and help raise their grandchildren. Nursing homes are uncommon. Young children are expected to obey their parents and may be disciplined if they do not.

Weddings are joyous occasions. In the past, the celebrations often continued for more than a week. All the couple's neighbours and friends were invited. It was a custom for men from neighbouring villages to arrive uninvited. Today, weddings are still important celebrations and the bride and groom welcome their family, friends and neighbours for dancing, drinks and a festive meal.

Traditionally, Lithuanian women were homemakers. Today, many work outside the home in business or the professions. Government-supported child-care programs have helped women enter the business world. Women and men are considered equal in the eyes of the law, but most Lithuanian women have full responsibility for their homes and children in addition to their careers.

   Did you know?
In the past, Lithuanians held a wake when someone died. For the entire night before the burial of the body, hymns and laments were sung for the soul of the deceased.
In the past, family meals were solemn events. Behaviour at the dinner table was quiet and orderly. Each family member had a particular place at the table: the father sat at the head, the mother opposite him, the oldest son on his father's right and the other children beside their mother. This traditional seating pattern is now observed mainly on feast days when the entire family gathers. Some families still maintain silence during meals.

   Did you know?
Women in Lithuania achieved full political rights much earlier than women in Canada. As soon as independence was proclaimed in 1918, women and men had equal voting and legal rights. The chair of the first Lithuanian parliament in 1920 was a woman and women have played an active role in parliament and local governments.