bees, honey and other sticky subjects

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Bees means friends

Shamefully, I missed this news last summer, but it's still worth repeating in full from Lithuanians in Australia:

During a recent visit by Ukraine’s President Yushchenko to Lithuania, he was gifted a set of beekeeping implements by President Adamkus of Lithuania. It turns out that Yushchenko is a keen beekeeper in his private life. President Yushchenko has now in turn gifted President Adamkus three beehives with bees, as thanks for Adamkus’ help in helping solve last year’s Ukrainian crisis.

This was a highly symbolic act, as in ancient times in Lithuania people who exchanged bees became lifelong friends, with ties as strong as between blood relatives. Bees could not be bought or sold, only exchanged. There was a whole lore of beekeeping practised in ancient times, unique in Europe to Lithuania and related Baltic nations. In fact the Lithuanian name for a special friend, "bičiulis", is derived from the word "bitė" (a "bee").

President Adamkus has entrusted the beehives to the care of the Museum of Ancient Beekeeping, located in the Aukštaitija National Park at Stripeikiai, Northwestern Lithuania. The honey that will be produced by President Yushchenko’ bees will be donated to a children’s charity.


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