Lithuania’s largest outdoor market — the Kaziukas Fair — returns once more in 2023, with all the traditional fanfare, mouth-watering treats, and hand-crafted artisan goods that made the event beloved by locals in the first place.
On the 3-5 March, the first weekend of spring, Lithuania bids farewell to winter by hosting the Kaziukas Fair of traditional crafts across the breadth of the country. Much like every year, the streets of this hidden Baltic gem will blossom with yew tree branches, the smell of gingerbread, and folk music.
Traditionally held in celebration of St. Casimir, the patron saint of Lithuania, the Kaziukas fair welcomes vendors from various regions of Lithuania and nearby countries, such as Belarus, Latvia, Ukraine, and Poland — a true smorgasbord of cultures and cuisines. Though the weather is often gray and still chilly, crowds are typically impressive.
Nation-wide celebrations ensue
An effigy of St. Casimir usually leads the parade that kicks off the Kaziukas Fair, which is filled with people in traditional costumes and medieval attire, hundreds of multicolored flags, wreaths, and banners, accompanied by traditional fanfare. Early in the 17th century, a commercial fair started to accompany this kind of procession and has since grown into one of the most-anticipated events of the year.
One of its main selling points is its uniqueness — with its centuries-old customs, original handcrafted items on show, gastronomic heritage foods to feast on, and heaps of Verba, a Palm Sunday adornment exclusive to Lithuania, the fair has no parallels in other countries.
Local, hand-crafted goods for sale
While some of the booths at Kaziukas Fair are manned by well-known Lithuanian companies, others are run by individuals who spend the entire year producing goods specifically for this outdoor market. Though it may seem overwhelming at first due to the sheer variety of products, the event planners invest a lot of time organizing the booths by theme: for instance, clustering food sellers together or assigning jewelry manufacturers to a single area.
Visitors can identify the most traditional goods by observing how locals shop. They will notice that many people are walking around wearing a necklace made of baranka (a bagel-like roll) or carrying a hand-carved wooden spatula. The longest lines usually form at the smoked sausage and wicker basket stalls. Finding a special treasure, however, is the most enjoyable part: unique items like amber jewelry, linen gowns, hand-painted scarves, and trinkets are just waiting to be discovered. In recent years, younger artisans and contemporary design items have also started to appear.
The fair is mostly focused on food, and the mouthwatering fragrances that permeate the streets make everyone ravenous. Traditional fare including sausages, potato pancakes, sauerkraut, and stews are available at the food market, along with mouthwatering cuisine from across the globe. It is essential to bring home a souvenir from Kaziukas Fair, known for its smoked eel, organic honey, hand-picked herbal teas, endless rows of hams, unique gingerbread, and lengthy candies in vibrant packaging.
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Lithuania Travel is a national tourism development agency responsible for Lithuania’s tourism marketing and promotion, acting under the Ministry of Economy and Innovation. Its strategic goal—to raise awareness of Lithuania as an attractive tourism destination and to encourage inbound and domestic travel. The agency closely collaborates with tourism businesses and organizations, presents Lithuanian tourism products, services and experiences on social and digital media, press trips, in international travel exhibitions and B2B events.