- Özgür Töre
Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, just lit its Christmas tree on November 26th. Thousands of spectators have come to see the art installation that plays into the following year’s 700th-anniversary theme and the traditional official holiday launch ceremony, which was finally once again live after the last two years.
Bedecked in 700 candles and 700 ornaments, the installation resembles an elegant multilayered birthday cake, joining Vilnius’ iconic past Christmas tree renditions.
The Christmas tree/birthday cake installation is the fusion of elegance and wintery esthetic. 25 meters high and 22 meters wide, the tree radiates holiday charm with ten kilometers of garlands and illuminated Baroque-inspired ornaments. Its shape is a mirror of Vilnius’ gastronomic masterpieces: the three white layers are adorned with decorative, brightly lit chandeliers, while the inside hides a golden gem—a tree made of 6,000 fir branches, golden ornaments, glittering garlands, and a blazing topper.
“There’s no birthday without a cake, it is a tradition dating back to ancient Roman times. People used to believe that candles symbolized the light of life and their smoke carried people’s wishes to the heavens. And the inside of the cake used to hide a surprise—a coin or a ring—which would bring year-long good luck to the one who found it. We hope that Vilnius’ birthday cake and the surprise inside it also raise the spirits of the visitors and make their deepest wishes come true,” commented Dominykas Koncevičius, the creator of the Christmas tree installation.
Besides the Christmas tree, Vilnius has many winter events lined up for this holiday season. Fairytale-inspired Christmas markets with handmade crafts, delicacies, and last-minute gifts, an ice rink set up in one of the edgiest spots of the city—the yard of a former century-old prison Lukiškės Prison 2.0, a 43rd holiday costume run, and international charity bazaar, among others.
Photo credit: Saulius Ziura