Like every year, this year during the first weekend of March the streets, squares and other expected and unexpected places will be flooded with the Kaziukas Fair. With centuries of tradition, the displaying of original handmade products, the feasting on culinary heritage dishes, and the delighting in Verba, a Kaziukas fair has no equal in neighboring countries.
So…Who is this Kaziukas?
St. Casimir, son of King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania Casimir IV, was canonized in 1602. In conjunction with his feast day celebrations, merchants established a fair. Over the centuries, this fair has become a spring festival celebrating the return of warmth and greenery. Famous to this day for his piousness and generosity towards the sick and poor, the beloved St. Casimir is a patron saint of Lithuania and Lithuanian youth. By the way, in Lithuanian, Kaziukas is a diminutive of Casimir.
Today, Kaziukas fair also features music and dance. It attracts tens of thousands of visitors and many craftsmen from all over the country as well as from neighboring states such as Latvia, Belarus, Russia, and Poland. The pavilions of the fair occupy streets and squares in the Old Town of Vilnius.
What about this year?
Kaziukas Fair will be held in Vilnius 4-6 March, 2020. For three days, you will have no shortage of opportunities to feast your eyes on the celebration, spend money, have fun, join in on traditional Lithuanian dances, and participate in the various festivities. However, you can find such fairs in almost every city across the country in this period. Even schools and kindergartens celebrate their own little fairs.
Who will enjoy the Kaziukas fair?
There are no restrictions on the age, style, or genre of the cultural program at the Kaziukas Fair. From culinary heritage and innovative food experiments, traditional performances and modern entertainment, to archaic crafts and contemporary design pieces – there’s so much to explore.
What to buy on Kaziukas fair?
Above all, St. Casimir’s Fair is regionally unique ethnocultural event about craftsmanship. Everyone can find many unique things made, created and/or produced by Lithuanian cultural traditions and according to the custom of the country.
Certainly, the most traditional purchases from Kaziukas fair are ring-shaped sweet roll called Riestainis or heart-shaped “Kaziuko širdis“ (Heart of Kaziukas) that are often decorated by nice appeals, loving words, names or special signs. Also, a necklace of round cookies was a necessary purchase for everyone visiting the Kaziukas fair.
Further, palm bouquet – colorful bouquet called Verba – is an association with Easter. But they are lovely symbols of spring even if you won’t be taking them to church.
Nowadays people gather to Kaziukas fair not to buy something practical. They want to find something beautiful and authentic, reflecting national Lithuanian spirit and culture for their home. So finding a unique gem is the most fun – amber jewelry, linen dresses, hand-painted scarfs, one-of-a-kind art pieces and trinkets are waiting you uncover them. From knick-knacks to a real value bargains. Come and check it out by yourself!
What else to do on Kaziukas fair?
People are still looking for palms, traditional cookies to buy as well as they are coming here for the festive uproar and performances to enjoy. Folklore dances and songs, all weekend of joy and merriment.
A large part of the fair revolves around food – delicious aromas fill the streets making everyone hungry. The food market offers traditional dishes like sausages, potato pancakes, and stews, as well as delicious dishes from all over the world. Taking back something as a souvenir is a must! Smoked eel, organic honey, hand-picked herbal teas, endless rows of hams, special gingerbread are all staples of Kaziukas Fair.
To celebrate the beginning of spring in a Lithuanian way, there will be a lot of traditional entertainment, from theater to folk songs and dances, from a concert of Lithuania’s most celebrated and accomplished singers to a full day dedicated for families and children. Whatever the age group or nationality, Kaziukas fair will hold something special for everyone.
Fancy such a traditional Lithuanian experience?
In case you are in Vilnius in the very beginning of spring, do not miss a chance to attend this amazing market where old traditions, honesty and folklore unite into one wonderful event. Moreover, it’s great to spend a few days in Vilnius. Moreover, check out our tours around the Baltics now. The Baltic states have lots of to surprise you!