home & art/culture events organizations publications
Lithuanian traditions:
Casimir's Fair

St. Casimir

"St. Casimir"
1984 painting by Sister Mercedes

According to the Roman Catholic Church, March 4 is the feastday of Saint Casimir, patron saint of Lithuania. On the Sunday closest to March 4, Lithuanians traveled to the capital Vilnius to participate in the religious ceremonies at the Vilnius cathedral, where St. Casimir is buried. After church people socialized and bought souvenirs to bring back home. These gatherings evolved into a tradition of annual events called Casimir's Fairs (or "Kaziuko Mugės" in Lithuanian).

Casimir, the second son of King Casimir IV of Lithuania and Poland and Princess Elizabeth of Austria, the grandson of Grand Duke Jogaila of Lithuania and Duchess Sofia of Alšėnai, was born on October 3, 1458 in Cracow, Poland. During his brief life Casimir was known for his virtue, great piety, devotion to Virgin Mary, and good works. He contracted tuberculosis and died at the age of 25 on March 4, 1484 in Gardinas.

After a number of documented miracles, Casimir was canonized by Pope Adrian VI in 1522. He was proclaimed the patron saint of Lithuania by Pope Urban VIII in 1636, and more recently on June 11 1948, Pope Pius XII named Saint Casimir as the patron of all Lithuanian youth.

(Click here to read more traditions.)