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Poles come second (6,65%), mostly concentrated in Southeast Lithuania, including Vilnius.Russians are third at 5,88% with their liveliest communities in cities.
Together with the other ethnicities of former Soviet Union these two are sometimes labeled Russophones and are also concentrated primarily in the cities.Other traditional minorities in Lithuania are the Jews, Germans, Tatars, Latvians, Karaims and Gypsies, each of them dating to 14th-15th centuries but consisting of 0,1% or less population today.Inter-ethnic relations are generally good in Lithuania.Unlike in many European nations the Lithuania’s largest ethnic minorities enjoy public schools where the language of instruction is their native one rather than the official Lithuanian language.However other points of language policy raised discussions recently, such as the legality of Polish street names in the Polish-dominated municipalities.Inter-ethnic marriages used to be shunned by peers while under the Soviet occupation (as the offspring were then likely to assimilate into Russophone culture, threatening the long-term existence of Lithuanian nation) but are now generally a non-issue if both spouses belong to the traditional communities.
Like elsewhere in the Eastern Europe the concept of nation is more associated with ethnicity than citizenship, therefore using the term "Lithuanian" for ethnic minorities may be controversial (both among the minority in question and the rest of population).
Conversations about one's ethnicity are generally welcome.
The culture of Lithuania is standing on six pillars: The ethnicity.
The old Lithuanian nation was joined by multiple minorities over the centuries, and to many their ethnicity is the prime self-identification and the main source of cherished traditions. The archaic Lithuanian language may be what defines Lithuanian people.
The minorities are equally protective of their languages however. Predominantly Catholic for centuries Lithuania was always tolerant to other faiths, which provided many alternative traditions and old houses of worship to Lithuanian towns. From local to universal, from meaningful to forgotten, from staightforward to controversial: every week has festivities in Lithuania, each of them dating to a different historical period or group of people. Formed by ethnicities and religions, foreign influences and occupations, a multitude of architectural styles define the contemporary Lithuanian villages, towns and cites. Mostly created during periods that already seem exotic in a rapidly-changing Lithuania the art, crafts and literature are still respected as something that best conveys the development of Lithuanian culture to the present-day people.
The majority ethnicity in Lithuania are Lithuanians, who make up 85,08% of population and are the country's original inhabitants.