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Belarus nationality, language and tradition

Belarusian girls
Belarusian girls

From the main languages to the national dress, find out more about the customs and traditions of the Belarusian people

Belarus people

The people of Belarus are a kind, friendly and good humoured nation. The patience and peacefulness of the Belarusian people has been determined by the nation’s history that has been darkened by endless wars which the Belarusians did not start, but fell victim to. Belarus is welcoming to all visitors and interested in sharing its culture, traditions and sense of community with them.

Ethnic Belarusians make up more than 80% of the population. But because of the history of Belarus, many other nationalities have also settled in the country, many of whom have been established for several generations.

Here are the main minority groups that make up the people of Belarus:

  • Russians (7.5%) have always lived in the region, with a large influx into the country after the Second World War
  • Poles (3.1%) have lived in the western side of the country for centuries
  • Ukrainians (1.7%) – the largest influx came in the 18th and 19th centuries
  • Jews (0.1%): the first Jews settled in Belarus in the 15th century, but emigration to Israel and other states since the 1980s means that the Jewish population of Belarus is now less than 30,000

Other significant minority groups in Belarus include Tatars, Roma, Lithuanians and Letts.

Languages of Belarus

Belarusian and Russian are the official languages of Belarus.

Other languages such as Polish, Ukrainian and Hebrew are spoken within local communities.

National clothing of Belarus

National costume is still popular in Belarus but usually worn only on festival days and for celebrations.

Traditional crafts in Belarus

There’s a long and rich history of traditional arts and crafts in Belarus, and many of these skills are alive and well today.

The main crafts include:

  • weaving
  • woodworking
  • glass blowing

Traditional folk dancing remains popular, with a number of folk theatres around Belarus.

Music and art also play an important part in the national life of Belarus, with national and international festivals held regularly across the country. The best known of these is the Slavyanskiy Bazaar in Vitebsk.

Great Patriotic War monuments in Belarus