True Lithuania

City and Town Local Holidays and Events

Traditional city and town holidays have been celebrated at the time of the day of the patron saint of the local church. This is a religious event but also brings in traders who sell traditional long sugar sweets, among other things, and is a pretext for family reunions. In larger towns concerts and other events also takes place during these holidays.

Sugar sweets in a local fair in Inturkė, Aukštaitija. Such events, known in Lithuanian as kermošius, typically correlate with locally important Christian feasts. ©Augustinas Žemaitis.

In the cities, the 20th century brought in a flavor of secular holidays.

In Vilnius, the traditional religious holiday is the St. Casimir's day (March 4th). What attracts more people to it than the churches is the Kaziukas (diminutive of Casimir) fair, typically held the weekend before. Covering several streets and squares in the Vilnius Old Town the stalls sell people's art, candies and other things, traditional and modern alike. St. Casimir day is so successful that Kaunas now attempts to emulate it.

Klaipėda has the Sea Festival (Jūros šventė), marked by concerts, other events and a procession of Neptune, attract many people to the seaside. First Sea Festival took place in 1934 and it is celebrated the final weekend of July. Many events are related to the sea and the concerts typically take place close to the sea or the Curonian lagoon.

Resorts such as Palanga or Druskininkai also have many annual events (mostly May to September), taking the whole weekend and aimed to entertain.

Some international initiatives came to Lithuania, including the Museum night (May 19th) when museums are free of charge and open longer. One initiative originated in Vilnius and has since become international: it is the Day of Street Music, held in May, when professionals and amateurs alike are encouraged to go to the streets and play whatever instrument they can, or sing. The level of performances varies greatly, but when you dislike a musician you may always walk some 300 additional meters to the next one. The day of Street Music takes place in the Old Town and New Town of Vilnius.

Article written by Augustinas Žemaitis

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