The holiday of Kaziukas in Lithuania can be roughly compared with celebrating of the 8th of March, the holiday which is still very popular in Russia and the other countries of the CIS. Like the 8th of March Kaziukas is the holiday of spring. But the Lithuanian holiday differs from the 8th of March because it has no political interpretation, it has nothing to do with somebody’s rights and it isn’t devoted to ladies only. Kaziukas is a kind of a festival, devoted to the beginning of spring. It is a national holiday with common symbols understandable to every person. As you can suppose the symbol of the holiday is certainly flowers.
Kaziukas is celebrated on the first weekend of March. By this time the streets of Vilnius are covered with snow. The contrast between cold sleeping streets and the abundance of flowers sold at each corner is really exciting. Kaziukas could be compared with lots of carnivals which take place at the same time in Europe, for example in Italy and Spain. But the festival of Kaziukas is not as so bright as in the southern countries because of the local temperament and weather conditions. But it is interesting for tourists due to its national character.
Officially this holiday is considered to be the birthday of St. Kazimir, who was born, according to the legend, at the beginning of March. That is why the festival is called Kaziukas. This is one reason, but there are some other reasons as well which stipulate the old Lithuanian pagan traditions connected with earth, water and fire.
Besides different beautiful flowers, which are sold everywhere in Vilnius, Kaziukas is known as well as the fair of folk handicrafts. Peasants and craftsmen prepare for it in winter, they make their things of the traditional materials: clay, tree bark, withes and glass beads. During the Kaziukas festival they bring all these wonderful things to markets and streets of Vilnius, where tourists and citizens of Lithuania can buy them as souvenirs to remember the wonderful holiday.
The main symbol of Kaziukas is the so-called “kazjuka”. It is a bunch made up of dry flowers, herbs and ears of wheat. This is the main thing of the holiday and everybody should have it. The other symbol is a bell made of clay which can be heard everywhere together with musical instruments, which are used by musicians, who play wonderful melodies in the streets of Vilnius. All these melodies are very old and famous. The most popular and interesting place in Vilnius during Kazjukas is considered to be Uzhupis. It is a famous part of the city where artists, sculptors and other creative people gather to communicate and to show their wonderful works. During the festival the streets of Uzhupis are overcrowded with guests and tourists.