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| Home | About Belarus | Culture | Day of Belarusian Written Language

Day of Belarusian Written Language

Logo of the Belarusian Written Language Day
Logo of the Belarusian Written Language Day

Day of Belarusian Written Language is an annual holiday that is marked on the first Sunday of September.

The holiday is intended to demonstrate the unity of the Belarusian written word and the history and culture of the Belarusian people, and to show the development of the written language and book publishing in Belarus.

Following the tradition, Day of Belarusian Written Language is celebrated in the cities which are considered cultural, scientific and literature centers of the country.

2012 was declared Year of Book in Belarus.

Timeline

Day of Belarusian Written Language was first celebrated in the ancient city of Polotsk in 1994.

Later on, the celebrations were held in the country’s historically significant cultural centers such as Turov, Novogrudok, Nesvizh, Orsha, Pinsk, Zaslavl, Mstislavl, Mir, Kamenets, Postavy, Shklov, Borisov, Smorgon, Khoiniki, Gantsevichi, Glubokoe, Bykhov, Zaslavl, Shchuchin, Rogachev, Polotsk.

In 2015 a new Belarus' literary capital Shchuchin, Grodno Oblast, hosted the 22nd Day of Belarusian Written Language.

In 2016 the traditional celebrations of the Day of Belarussian Written Language was held in Rogachev, Gomel Oblast.

In 2017, the capital of the festival, dedicated to the 500th anniversary of the Belarusian book printing, was ancient Polotsk, the birthplace of the Belarus first printer and enlightener Francysk Skaryna.

Events on Day of Belarusian Written Language

The participants and guests of the celebrations are given a unique chance to get familiar with the new books and meet national and foreign writers, poets, journalists and publishers. By tradition Day of Belarusian Written Language includes an award ceremony of the winners of the best literary work contest, a science-to-practice conference, and many more interesting events.

Belarusian Written Language Day in Slonim

In 2019 Belarusian Written Language Day will take place in Slonim, one of Belarus’ oldest towns. This district capital in Grodno Oblast is known for its ancient cultural and spiritual traditions.A monument to the legendary Leu Sapieha will be solemnly unveiled in the central square of Slonim during the celebrations. Leu Sapieha was a famous statesman and military leader, diplomat and political philosopher, one of the authors of the Statutes of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. He started out as a record-keeper at the Orsha municipal chancellery and rose through the ranks to become Grand Chancellor and Great Hetman of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. In 1586 he became Governor of Slonim. Thanks to him, in 1591 the town on the Shchara River got a coat of arms depicting a lion holding a golden arrow. The same year, Slonim got its Magdeburg rights confirmed (the town got these rights in 1531). Under Leu Sapieha, Slonim turned into an important trading venue and a center of crafts. It was also a place where the country’s decision-makers gathered to discuss important issues.  

One of the town’s most famous attractions is the Oginski Canal. It was built in the 18th century upon the order of Hetman Michal Kazimierz Oginski, the uncle of Michal Kleofas Oginski who is known for his polonaise Farewell to the Homeland. Today this picturesque thoroughfare and engineering masterpiece is turning into a popular tourist site.

Michal Kazimierz Oginski was much more than a politician. He was a writer, composer, and patron of arts. He ordered the construction of a theater that is now the town’s cultural hub.

The famous Orthodox sanctuary, Zhirovichi Monastery, is located not far from Slonim. An icon of Virgin Mary is believed to appear in the local woods 550 years ago.  The monastery itself will mark its 500th anniversary soon. Preparations for these landmark events are in full swing.

The program of Belarusian Written Language Day will be centered around the history of Slonim and the legacy left behind by its famous natives. This celebration of the national culture will also focus on the Native Land theme. In 2018 a decision was made to declare three consecutive years – from 2018 to 2020 – the Years of Native Land.

The biggest draws of the festival will be opening and closing ceremonies, and a ceremony to honor winners of the National Literary Award. A two-day cultural program will be packed with events. The Festival of Books and Press, as well as the final round of the Living Classics junior recitation competition will take place on 31 August-1 September. Belarusian and foreign writers will gather in Slonim to discuss topical issues of the book publishing industry. The festival will be based around 16 venues offering a plethora of activities and entertainments. There will be events dedicated to literature and theater, activities for young people, a craft fair and pavilions offering national cuisine.

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