Vilnius Christmas MarketThe Vilnius Christmas market is a tradition that has gotten off to a rocky start. Established in 2009, the market opened with a celebration early in the month of December. However, in later years, it has been unable to maintain such momentum and runs on a reduced schedule. An additional Christmas market at the Panorama shopping center has also proved popular, though its size and dates of operation also vary from year to year.
During the first weekend of December, the International Women’s Association in Vilnius organizes a Christmas charity fair with gifts and foods from different nationalities that live in Vilnius. In the past, this charity bazaar has been held in the Town Hall in Old Town Vilnius.
Christmas DecorationsChristmas decorations are typically tasteful in Old Town Vilnius, with a tree on Cathedral Square erected at the start of December and lights lining Gediminas Prospect. Shops and restaurants also don Christmas lights.
Nativity Scenes in VilniusOne tradition visitors can look forward to is the two nativity scenes that appear every Christmas. The first is on Cathedral Square, where a life-sized manger is placed shortly before the holidays. The other is the manger with live animals at the Bernadine Church.
Holiday ConcertsThe active music culture in Vilnius takes advantage of the Christmas season with a series of holiday concerts at a variety of venues throughout the city. St. Catherine’s Church, the Philharmonic, and the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theater traditionally host special Christmas concerts and performances.
Other Christmas EventsSpecial events in Old Town Vilnius include Christmas train rides, a Christmas town on Town Hall Square, and visits from Santa. Christmas mass is held at various churches throughout the city.
The Christmas procession from the Gates of Dawn to Cathedral Square is a regularly anticipated event taking place on January 6th. Figures of the Three Wise Men make their way through Old Town and are followed by an ever-growing parade of onlookers.