Vilnius lit up the Christmas Tree – an artistic composition in the shape of an anniversary cake decorated with 700 candles

Photo by Saulius Ziura

The start of the festive season 2022 in Vilnius was spectacular: in the evening of November 26, at the capital’s Cathedral Square, a Christmas tree was lit: an artistic composition Happy Birthday, Vilnius! in the shape of a jubilee cake, decorated with 700 birthday candles.

The celebrations at the Cathedral Square began with DJ Jovani and the musicians of the ensemble Lietuva, who, along with their ancient instruments – wooden trumpets, invited the whole world to Vilnius to celebrate the city’s anniversary next year, just like once the heralds of the Grand Duke Gediminas did.

The hosts and performers of the event invited the people of Vilnius, as well as guests visiting the capital and TV viewers to welcome the most pleasant time of the year. People were invited to fulfill their dreams, to find time to meet up and be closer to each other, to share, to travel back in time, and to remember what Vilnius once was and what it is now. A lot of attention was also given to Ukraine, which is currently fighting for their freedom. A Ukrainian women’s choir, led by Nadija Admachuk, performed at the celebration and lit this year’s Vilnius Christmas tree.

“When we light the Christmas tree every year, we talk about the fact that there are more important things than Christmas lights, buying presents and other everyday worries. This year, these speeches took on a real shape: Ukrainians have been at war for 276 days. I invite you to remember what is most important: what a great joy it is to have a home, to decorate a Christmas tree, to invite friends, to communicate and to know that the prospects are good. I want to congratulate you – we live in a wonderful, safe, prosperous and progressive city, which will celebrate its 700th anniversary next year. Let’s be happy with our city and treasure what we have”, said the mayor of Vilnius Remigijus Šimašius, inviting everyone to support the Ukrainians.

“This year’s Christmas tree is a vivid invitation to visit the capital of Lithuania, and a special birthday wish to Vilnius, which is symbolized by the burning candles on the cake. We hope that this majestic and enchanting Christmas tree, just like the 14th century letters written by Gediminas, the Grand Duke of Lithuania, will become today’s letter from Vilnius to Europe and the whole world. We hope that news about the 700th anniversary of Vilnius will spread to the furthest corners of the planet,” says Paulius Jurgutis, the director of the Vilnius Cultural Center, which is organizing the Christmas in the Capital events.

The artistic composition of this year’s Christmas tree is a combination of elegance and aesthetics. As befits any masterpiece of culinary skill prepared for a special occasion, this one impresses with its magnificent appearance, which took a lot of effort and skill from its creators. The base of the three-tier birthday cake is 25 meters high and 22 meters in diameter, and is made of luminous metal structures decorated with baroque style ornaments.

The first tier of the cake surrounds the tree like a colonnade: rhythmically repeating columns and decorative chandeliers create a festive space. The edges and horizontal planes of all three tiers are decorated with baroque style ornaments shining in a cold white hue. The warm white sparkles of the 700 birthday candles invite you to your give birthday wishes to Vilnius.

At the center of the artistic composition stands the cake filling – a Christmas tree, decorated with golden toys and sparkling garlands. The tree’s metal cone-shaped frame is covered by 6000 pcs of fir branches, and the top is decorated with a fountain candle.

“Birthday cakes and candles are a tradition that dates back to ancient Rome. People believed that the smoke rising from the candles, which symbolize the light of life, would carry their prayers and wishes to the gods in the sky. In various traditions, a coin or a ring was placed inside the festive cake or pie. It was believed that whoever received this surprise along with their piece of cake would be accompanied by good luck throughout the year. We hope that this Christmas tree bring positive emotions and miracles to everyone who sees it”, – says Dominykas Koncevičius, the creator of the tree and representative of Švenčių Studija, wishing the people of Vilnius and its guests that all their desires come true as easily as blowing out birthday candles on a cake.

The capital’s Christmas tree will spread its festive mood to the residents and guests of Vilnius until January 8, and it will invite to celebrate the 700th anniversary of Vilnius on 25 January 2023.

The Christmas tree at the Cathedral Square is accompanied by a traditional Christmas market stretching out next to it. Festive goodies and gifts will also be available at Odminių Square in front of the Cathedral and at Vincas Kudirka Square until 1 January 2023.

The joyful cries of little ones and guests of the capital can already be heard at the Christmas train stop, near the Cathedral Square, next to the Archdiocese. The train will rumble joyfully through the streets of the Vilnius old town until January 8.

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