Biruta, Birutė


Gender: Feminine
Origin: Lithuanian
Meaning: “snow.”
Lith (bih-ROO-tay); Pol (bee-ROO-tah).

Birutė is a classic Lithuanian name which is believed to be associated with the Lithuanian word, byrančiu, meaning, “snow.”

In Lithuanian history, the name was borne by the wife of Grand Duke Kęstutis of Lithuania and the mother of Vytautas the Great (d. 1382)

In Lithuania, Birutė is considered a sort of folk heroine, a lot of legends have been attributed to her, one being that Birutė was a vaidilutė or priestess of the gods who guarded the sacred fire. It is believed that Kęstutis kidnapped and married her against her will. After her death, she was made into a sort of pagan folk saint. In 1989, archeological evidence suggested that she had a sanctuary dedicated to her on a hill in Palanga, now named Birutė Hill, it is considered the highest dune in Palanga.

The form of Biruta was also ocassionally used in Poland.

A Lithuanian masculine form is Birutis.

The designated name-days are February 5 (Lithuanian) and November 24 (Poland).

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