Saturday, December 2, 2017

Baltic Christmas Day 2 - The Holiday Markets

While living in Chicago I always looked forward to December and the various Christmas tirdziņi that would take place on the weekends. The several churches would each have a Christmas bazaar one December weekend, and the Latvian School would host theirs on the third Saturday. Although these markets are the perfect place to pick up beautiful handmade gifts, there’s always the lure of tortes and pīrāgi for those already finished with their holiday shopping!

Photo source: Northern California Latvian Association Baltic Christmas Fair

Whether you are looking for traditional Baltic jewelry, linen textiles, ceramic art or just a few trimmings for your tree, here’s your chance! There are a few cities that host their markets in November*, but with more than a dozen tirdziņi still to come there is plenty of time to score the perfect Lithuanian, Estonian or Latvian present! Events are listed by date and alphabetical order by state (or country/city).

Today, December 2nd
Australia (Adelaide): 2-5pm Latvian Federation of South Australia Christmas fair (source)
U.K. (London): 10am-4pm The Latvian Daugavas Vanagi annual holiday market to include concert by “Kokļu zapte” and folk dancing by the London Latvian school (source)
CA (San Francisco): 10am-4pm 4th Annual Baltic Christmas Fair (source)
CO (Lakewood): The Colorado Latvians Christmas bazaar starts at 10am (source)
IL (Chicago): Not a market, but a wonderful opportunity to take home traditional Lithuanian holiday ornaments: "Learn how to create beautiful Lithuanian straw Christmas ornaments at this year's Straw Christmas Ornament Workshop at the Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture" (source)
IL (Lemont): 9am-4pm: A merry holiday market at the Lithuanian World Center (source)
IL (Wood Dale): 9am-4pm The St. Peter’s Latvian Church bazaar
MI (Kalamazoo): 10am-2pm The Kalamazoo Latvians will host the 55th annual European Christmas Bazaar at the Latvian Center (source)
MN (Minneapolis): 11am-3pm Latvian Ev. Luth. Church Christmas Bazaar (source)
NY (NYC): 3-5pm NY Estonian House annual Jõululaat (source)
OR (Portland): 10am-4pm Ziemassvētku tirdziņš hosted by the Oregon Latvian Society (source)
PA (Quakertown): 10-6pm Kringle Christmas Shoppe (source)
PA (Philadelphia): 12-6pm The Latvian Society Winter Holiday Fair and Market (source)
WI (Milwaukee): 10-3pm Milwaukee Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Holy Trinity Church Holiday Cookie and Gift Fair (source)

Sunday, December 3rd
Canada (Vancouver): 12:15pm: Kuldse Klubi jõululaat / Pensioner’s Club Christmas Bazaar (source)
CA (Los Angeles): 11am-2pm Estonian House annual Jõululaat hosted by the Estonian Society of LA (source)
CA (Los Angeles): The South-California Latvian Society hosts the Christmas fair at the Latvian Center (source)
CO (Lakewood): The Colorado Latvians Christmas bazaar starts at 11am (source)
IL (Chicago): 9:30am The Latvian Daugavas Vanagi Christmas bazaar
IL (Lemont): 10am-3pm: A merry holiday market at the Lithuanian World Center (source)
MA (Brookline): 12-2pm The Boston Latvian Church Christmas Bazaar (source)
MD (Rockville): 12pm Washington DC Latvian Lutheran Church annual Christmas Bazaar
PA (Quakertown): 10-4pm Kringle Christmas Shoppe (source)
NY (Melville): 10:30am The NY Latvian Ev. Lutheran congregation’s annual Christmas bazaar at the Salas Church (source)

Saturday, December 9th
Canada (Montreal): 1-5pm: Jõulu Basaar, the annual Christmas bazaar hosted by the Montreal Estonian Society
Canada (Toronto): 12-4pm Rahvajõulupuu 2017 / An Estonian Christmas at the Toronto Estonian House (source)
NY (NYC): 12pm Holiday market in the Daugavas Vanagu nams including concert by saxophone player Alex and DJ Michael (source)

Sunday, December 10th
IL (Chicago): 9am Ciānas annual Christmas market with performances by Stariņš and the Čikāgas bērnu ansamblis! 
MD (Baltimore): 12-4pm Baltimorės Lietuvių Namuose Kalėdinė Mugė hosted by the Lithuanian Hall of Baltimore (source)
CA (Los Angeles): 12-4pm Marytės Kalėdinę Mugę - lietuvišką Kalėdinį kaimelį at the Lithuanian House in LA (source)

Saturday, December 16th
IL (Chicago): 9am-3pm The Latvian School of Chicago’s annual Christmas bazaar (source)
Denmark (Velje): 2-6pm Latviešu-dāņu biedrības Ziemassvētku eglīte un tirdziņš (source)
U.K. (London): 11am-4:30pm Kalėdinė Mugė hosted by LT Baltic events at the Chandos Community Center in Leyton (source)

Sunday, December 17th
Australia (Melbourne): 12:30-2pm Melbourne Lithuanian Club’s Prieškalėdinis Turgelis (source)

Please comment if you know of any Baltic Christmas markets/bazaars that I have missed – I will add them as I get them and I thank you in advance for your help!

Please, shop local and shop thoughtful this holiday season! Supporting the local tirdziņi is a great way to support the local craftspeople who are making traditional Baltic jewelry, textile goods and other handmade products, and not only do you get presents out of the deal, you also get fresh piparkūkas, oftentimes a warm lunch, and the company of other Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians in this very merry holiday season! Cheerful shopping and welcome back tomorrow on Day Three of 24 Days of a Baltic Christmas for insight into one of the most curious of holiday foods…

* For future knowledge, those considering attending a Baltic Christmas market in November should look into the dates for the following:
- The Estonian House in Riverwoods, IL hosts the International Christmas Market “Jõululaat” on what is usually the second Saturday of the month. Holiday fun with Baltic and Scandinavian flare! (source)
- The Seattle Latvian Christmas Bazaar at the Latvian Cultural Center is often on the second weekend of November. (source)


  1. I didn't realize there were so many Lithuania, Latvian, and Estonian markets in the US!

  2. "Ziemassvētku tirdziņš" (Christmas Market) is a great place to find unique gifts (and often meet the artisans themselves), see a bit of Baltic culture in action, taste delicious ethnic delicacies - and take home some of them - piparkūkas, pīrāgi, dzeltenmaize, honey... I've heard rumors of even "galerts" (look it up) being for sale at a tirdziņš!


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