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Vilnius tradition in Poznan
Thursday, 25 February 2010 17:07
Gingerbread hearts, blini, cepelinai and cranberry jelly. All this will be available for tasting during this year’s Kaziuki Fair, a tradition brought to Poznan by Vilnius’ repatriates.
A dozen or so years after his death, efforts were begun to canonise the young prince. The noble believer from the royal family was perfectly suited to be the patron saint of the recently Christianised Lithuania.
The religious celebrations held every year on the 4th of March in Vilnius were attended by many believers from all over Lithuania. Not long after, (probably as early as 1604), church fairs also began to be organised, from which one could buy something useful for the house or farm. Thus the annual fairs known as “Kaziuki” were born.
The wooden items offered at the stalls were soon accompanied by gingerbread and Smorgonie bagels. As time went by, the tradition was born to present gingerbread as a declaration of love.
The members of the Association of Vilnius and Vilnius Land Lovers strive to recreate the unique atmosphere of Vilnius, totally foreign to contemporary people, in Poznan. For several years now the fair, with its traditional Vilnius bagels, Easter palms and gingerbread hearts, has been taking place in the Old Market on the Sunday closest to the 4th of March. The fair is accompanied by performances from Vilnius folk bands and exhibitions of photographs of the old Vilnius.
This year the Kaziuki Fair is to take place on Sunday, the 7th of March. It will start at 11:15 am with a presentation of the banners of Wielkopolskan troops who took part in the Battle of Grunwald, where the combined might of Poland and Lithuania defeated the Teutonic army and whose 600th anniversary we will be celebrating on the 10th of July. Then, the Rota (Oath) patriotic song will be solemnly sung. The Rota was specially composed 100 years ago to honour the 500th anniversary of the Battle of Grunwald. At high noon the Vilnius and Poznan anthems will be played and the Jagiellon Royal Retinue march will take place.
The  ‘Zgoda’ (Concord) band from Rudomin near Vilnius, this year’s star of the Fair, will perform on-stage. The programme also includes performances by the following bands: the Wielkopolanie Song and Dance Band, Kaźmierzanka Vocal Band and “Schola Collegiale” from Berlin. To crown the event, it is planned to jointly sing occasional and festive songs.
This year too, the members of the Association of Vilnius and Vilnius Land Lovers granted the traditional “Żurawina” award posthumously to the former Deputy Mayor of Poznan, Maciej Frankiewicz.   
As usual, one will be able to buy traditional Vilnius Easter palms woven out of dried flowers and corn. The largest ones even stand several metres high! There will also be gingerbread hearts and other traditional Vilnius dishes which one simply has to try.