A Luthianian Christmas
“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, everywhere you go!”
Cities like Toronto, New York City and London are all prepping for the upcoming holidays with bright lights, Christmas trees and festive activities. This year, Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, held its tree-lighting ceremony on November 27th in the city’s Cathedral Square. For several years, Lithuania has opted for an unconventional tree, using an intricate light-and-art installation to brighten up the town square. This year, the Christmas tree art installation has 96 giant replicas of real snowflakes with exquisite patterns throughout each one. There are also 200 square metres of mirrors, 3,000 artificial branches, 900 metres of garland and bursts with light through 2,000 metres of string lights.
The unveiling of this modern Christmas tree installation included a welcome by Remigijus Šimašius, Mayor of Vilnius. To avoid large gatherings, the ceremony was broadcast live for citizens to watch on their TVs. Viewers got to see the 27-metre-high tree light up the Cathedral Square with its twinkling strings of lights and snowflakes enhancing the spirit of Christmas.
The tree was designed by Dominykas Koncevičius, who was inspired by the country’s white winter they experienced last year, which was incredibly cold and frosty. Koncevičius purposely included replicas of real snowflakes to reflect the past winter they endured. To reproduce the snowflakes for the tree, they were magnified one-thousandfold and turned into detailed atmospheric sculptures.
The design and process of the tree was complex, as the tree is made up of three layers, each with a significant meaning. The bottom layer is covered with mirrors to symbolize ice and to reflect the lights, decorations and its surroundings, such as people, buildings and the capital of Vilnius. The middle is made up with all the replicated snowflakes varying in size and form, as each snowflake is one-of-a-kind. Lastly, the top layer consists of strings of garland to enhance the twinkling effect. Koncevičius explained, “Each layer is interconnected to construct a miraculous dance of lights, colours and shapes.”
The tree-lighting ceremony is a tradition for the capital of Vilnius, as it kicks off the holiday season and festivities throughout the region. The square is also to include a 3D projection of a Christmas Fairy Tale onto the Cathedral. There will also be many pop-up kiosks that will sell gifts, drinks and food. Restaurants around the area are also prepared with Christmas decorations and ready to host holiday feasts for passers-by in the area. The Christmas festivities are set to continue until January 2nd for visitors to enjoy.
Check out Go Vilnius for any tourist information to visit this magical Christmas location for the holidays!