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Rites and traditions of Belarus

Rites and traditions of Belarus

traditions of Belarus

Rites and traditions of Belarus

Belarusian festivals and customs

Traditions in our land can be divided into calendar holidays and family ceremonies. Calendar traditions included such holidays as Shrovetide, Kupalye and Kolyady. To the family ceremonial traditions belong weddings, christenings and funerals.

Celebration of Kolyady in Belarus

The celebration of Koliady

Kolyady has long been the main winter holiday in our land. Earlier this holiday symbolized the beginning of a new year: both agricultural and solar. The Belarusian people started celebrating Kolyady on January 6 and ended the celebration on January 19 (according to the new calendar). For Kolyady, as for many other holidays, preparations were made in advance: they slaughtered a pig (and peasants, especially the poor, rarely ate meat and this holiday was one of those periods when they could eat plenty of it), cleaned their houses properly, sewed new beautiful clothes and went to the bathhouse to wash up thoroughly and be neat and tidy for the holiday.

Koliady in Belarus

The Belarusian spring festival Maslenitsa

Maslenitsa is one of the oldest Slavic festivals. This holiday has never been marked on the calendar, as it has no definite date, and it’s celebrated eight weeks before Easter. Lent begins one week after Maslenitsa. The church calendar marks this holiday as Cheese-fare Week. Peasants treated this holiday reverently and prepared for it in advance. At that time there should have been a lot of dairy products the table, but meat was strictly forbidden.

Belarusian spring fest Maslenitza

This holiday dates back to pagan times and is associated with winter farewell. It was common to have fun on Maslenitsa, rejoice the passing of the cold season and the coming of spring. As a rule, there was a large Maslenitsa Scarecrow which symbolizes the winter and is burned at the stake. Pancakes are a traditional Belarusian dish, which is definitely worth tasting.Belarusian Maslenitza dishes

Dozhinki and Kupalye in Belarus

Nowadays Belarusian traditions and customs aren’t forgotten, even young people are interested in the history of their ancestors. That's why many people enjoy taking part in Belarusian festivals and tell fortune during the Christmas holidays.

Dozhinki is the harvest festival and it’s celebrated broadly these days. It has lots of entertainment events, comes along with selling agricultural products and awarding the work of the best farmers. Plenty of people come to take part in this holiday, eat delicious Belarusian food and relax.

Kupalye is the summer solstice holiday which Belarusian people also don’t bypass. The day of joy and merriment comes along with round dances and jumping over bonfires. Girls, who want to find a bridegroom, weave wreaths and let them down the river. 

Dozhinki and Kupal’e

Belarusian ceremonies

Among the brightest Belarusian ceremonial events are weddings and christenings (if you don’t know where to celebrate this wonderful holiday, our article is especially for you). As a rule, the whole family gathers for such important occasions, including close and distant relatives and a lot of dishes are served to the table.

Belarusian wedding is a rite which has a deep meaning. A wedding in our land has always been well thought out to the finest detail, and all of its stages have been thoroughly calibrated.

The modern wedding has lost such a deep meaning as the traditional Belarusian "Vyaselia", although to this day many newlyweds don’t abandon the traditions of their ancestors.

The wedding ceremony had a certain sequence of three stages:

  • pre-wedding ("zapyty", matchmaking, engagement),

  • wedding (the celebration itself),

  • post-wedding (pies and "honeymoon").

Even today it is common for a bridegroom and his family to come to the bride's house (it is called “v svaty”). Also it is popular to organize feigned theatrical bride price, and a bridal kidnapping is a favourite entertainment of the bridesmaids.

Wedding ceremony

Сhristening is a family holiday associated with the Orthodox sacrament of baptism. Belarusian families prepare for this event in advance, choosing godparents thoroughly (usually among close relatives or friends) and inviting guests. Serving a festive table with elaborate viands has become a tradition of this holiday.Wedding ceremony in Belarus

Belarusian traditions

Folk arts and crafts still remain relevant and play an important role in our lives. There are still craftsmen who weave from straw and vines, embroider, paint on glass and make pottery. You can not only see them at work, but also take part in the process of making a clay jug or a horseshoe. Just visit the Belarusian museum-skansen "Dudutki".

The Museum “Dudutki”

Weaving is one of the main activities of the Belarusian people. In ancient times, girls were taught to weave at an early age, and the first cloth woven by a young craftswoman was left for the wedding as a dowry. There were individual patterns or ornaments in every region, each of which was a symbol of luck, the sun, the sky or the earth.Belarus excursions  Belarus sanatorium

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