Festive and Daily Interaction between Neighbours in Contemporary Lithuania and Bulgaria


  • Rasa Paukštytė-Šaknienė Senior Researcher at the Department of Ethnology and Anthropology, Lithuanian Institute of History, Lithuania


neighbourhood, Vilnius, Sofia, mutual assistance, leisure, festivals, village, city


The article is based on data from ethnographic field research that was conducted in Vilnius and the Vilnius are in 2017–2020 and in Sofia in 2019. To meet the aims of this research comparing interactions between neighbours in the cities of Sofia and Vilnius respectively, I analysed two types of neighbourhood: the formal, which is determined by territorial proximity and the necessity of mutual assistance; and the informal, which is based on friendly feelings and the desire to spend leisure time and celebrate together. However, the specific features of field research in these cities highlighted another aspect of the neighbourhood, namely, how it functions in public and private spaces. A majority of respondents associated friendship with visiting one another at home, while birthdays were the most common celebration for spending time together. Older respondents, mostly those who were from villages, remember how neighbours would interact in the village environment and how they brought this concept of neighbourhood to the city, naturally comparing it with the situation there and pointing out generational differences. However, in the opinion of the majority, the city environment changed the nature of interactions between neighbours and created a unique concept of neighbourhood that was based on close social links, which sometimes developed into friendship.