What did Belarus look like hundreds of years ago? What is so unique about its culture? What Belarusian traditions are famous around the world and how can our country amaze ethno-tourists?
Belarusians are proud of their heritage and the unique culture they have carved out over many centuries of history. Traditional festivals and rites, folklore songs and dances, indigenous crafts, national costumes and cuisine – all this is intrinsically linked to national identity and can give a unique experience to tourists.
There are a lot of places in Belarus that can give you a glimpse into traditional Belarusian culture and help you see how Belarus looked like many centuries ago. They are
Visitors to these museums will be able to see household items, craftwork, hear authentic Belarusian songs watch traditional dances and get a taste of the national cuisine.
Rural tourism estates will offer something uniquely Belarusian. They will give an opportunity to experience a rural life as it was many centuries ago. Here you will be able to visit a bee garden, a hayfield, have a stroll in the forest, attend master classes in bread baking, basket and broom weaving, ride a horse, go fishing and hunting, do archery, and many more.
In Belarus traditional festivals are greatly cherished and draw crowds of people both in the city and the countryside.
The most famous of them include:
Open-air celebrations are held across the entire country during these festivals.
Some rites have survived only in individual communities. They are:
The nationwide harvest festival Dazhynki is one of the most significant holidays of modern-day Belarus. This festival is held every autumn to honor the best workers and celebrate the end of the autumn harvesting.
This remarkable festival features performances of folk singers and dancers, master classes in traditional crafts and an exhibition of handmade souvenirs.
Traditional crafts reflect the profound character and history of Belarusian people. These crafts were passed on from generation to generation and have survived to this very day.
The most popular crafts include:
Craftwork is of great historical and cultural significance and is carefully preserved by museums.
It is not just as work of art where its significance lies. Some craftwork has become a cultural symbol of our nation. These are the famous Slutsk belts, rushnyks from the villages of Neglyubka and Semezhevo, aprons from Bezdezh, Dribin felt books, amulet dolls from flax, straw spiders…
For example, Neglyubka rushnyks made by weavers with the use of wooden "krosny" or looms are known all over the world. They have been awarded gold medals at international expos in New York, Montreal, Tokyo, Paris and Brussels. One of Belarus’ offices at the United Nations is decorated with rushnyks, and the Metropolitan Museum acquired them for its collection.
In 2012 the village of Neglyubka (Vetka District) hosted the first festival of Belarusian rushnyks, which became an annual event.
The pride of the Belarusian culture are folk costumes with distinctive white-and-red colors, symbolic embroidery and, of course, particular traditions of wearing. Belarus has more than 30 varieties of folk costumes, which were common in various parts of the country.
The Belarusian village of Bezdezh (Drogichin District) has the world’s only museum of aprons with a unique collection of clothing items that have become a true local brand.
Today, almost every district of the country has arts and crafts centers which study the old techniques of arts and crafts, arrange exhibitions and workshops, make souvenirs.
Workshops of local artisans are held at all festivals and street fests across Belarus. The Town of Artisans at the International Arts Festival Slavonic Bazaar in Vitebsk has earned special love and popularity among people.
There are also exhibitions and fairs of craftsmen:
At different times of the year the regions of Belarus hold interesting and in many ways unique festivals of national culture, which become increasingly popular with numerous guests and participants every year:
In addition, the towns and villages in Belarus that are famous for the ancient culinary traditions, and are home to successful enterprises of food industry, hold "delicious" fests.
These are festivals of milk, potatoes, kvass, beer, cheese, chocolate, apples, cucumbers, cranberries, honey. Most popular recently are:
Belarusian cuisine is rich in interesting traditions of cooking, unique dishes and drinks. You can try them at ethno-cultural and culinary festivals, ethnographic museums and rural estates.
For example, you can taste the unique dishes that are on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Belarus ("buttery sheep", rye bread).
Major cultural-ethnographic centers and national parks serve unique home-distilled beverages such as: