aA
Most of Vilnius downtown is celebrating this weekend St. Casimir's fair (Kaziuko mugė in Lithuanian). One of the biggest events on the Spring calendar, the market transforms the centre of the Lithuanian capital into a giant open-air bazaar.
Kaziuko Mugė, Ludo
Kaziuko Mugė, Ludo

Just a few days ago, the end of winter was celebrated by burning of the winter witches (More ritual in Lithuanian). Still, temperatures were hovering around the freezing mark for the first day of the three-day market. Many of the warm mitts and hats on offer in several of the market stalls looked right in season.

The annual market dates back to 1827 when merchants in the capital were given the privilege to hold a market. Traditionally St. Casimir is celebrated on the weekend with the Sunday nearest to March 4, the anniversary of his St. Casimir's death.

Saint Casimir (Lithuanian: Kazimieras) lived in the second part of the 15th Century and was a prince of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania as well as the Kingdom of Poland. The Saint became known for his devotion to God and generosity towards the sick and poor. He was buried in Vilnius Cathedral soon after his death he was elevated to sainthood.

It was during the early part of the 17th century that he achieved a name day, confirmed by the pope in 1602. Processions to remember the Saint started in 1604 and a dedicated Chapel was completed in 1636. Later in that century, Saint Casimir became a patron saint of Lithuania.

Much of the religious background seems a distant memory now. A large variety of mainly Lithuania's culinary delicatessen is on offer, as are traditional handicrafts. There is a bit of nostalgia in the air, but there are also increasingly a large number of very contemporary gadgets on sale.

The market is split up in different specialisation areas. Pottery, woodcarvers, textiles with food stalls interspersed assuring that nobody will go hungry as the smell of greasy spoon specialities alternate various sweets and various types of bread, a staple of every Lithuanian's diet. Street musicians and street artist are keeping the visitors entertained. On several spots, one can also get commemorative coins with historic themes stamped on site.

For more serious numismatic collectors the Lithuanian National Bank sells two special coins. A commemorative minted silver 5 Euro coin and a unique 1.5 Euro made of copper and nickel alloy are offered for the first time in Euroland. The latter is a throwback to a coin that existed in 17th century Lithuania.

The religious celebration is still present as the St. Casimir Archdiocese of Vilnius will celebrate its patron saint. On Friday evening, Vilnius Cathedral saw a performance of Mozart's Coronation Mass. On Friday, 4 March, the Church Heritage Museum offers an educational programme that includes tours.

Lithuanian citizenship restored for basketball player Brazdeikis (1)

Ignas Brazdeikis, a Lithuanian-born Canadian professional basketball player, has had his Lithuanian...

Lithuania slightly above EU average in terms of number of smokers

Some 28 percent of residents of Lithuania smoke, which is 5 percent more than the European Union...

Earth Day: events for the spring equinox

Since 1971, Earth Day is celebrated throughout the world on the 22nd of April. Due to the Covid-19...

Lithuania to host UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship in 2024

Lithuania will host the UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship in 2024, the Lithuanian Football...

Lithuania registers more births and deaths in March

More people were born and died in Lithuania last month, compared to the same period last year,...

Top news

PM: Lithuania in talks to produce COVID-19 vaccines

The Lithuanian government is in talks on possibilities to produce COVID-19 vaccines in the country,...

Pandemic slowing down amid record testing

Coronavirus testing has hit record heights in Lithuania, but the daily count of new positive cases is...

1 230 new COVID-19 cases

On Tuesday, 1 230 new COVID-19 cases were recorded in Lithuania. Since the beginning of the pandemic,...

UK deports 22 Lithuanian offenders

The United Kingdom on Tuesday deported 22 Lithuanians who broke the country’s law and were...

Skuodis on most important works: convenient movement without cars and fewer car trips in city

In 2030, people in cities will use public transport, bicycles and travel on foot more frequently,...