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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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".
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.