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Kalyady Tsars in Semezhevo
The Kalyady Tsars (Christmas Tsars) is a ritual and festive event celebrated only in the village of Semezhevo, Kopyl District, Minsk Oblast, Belarus. It originated in the 18th century, and is being revitalized today. In 2009, the rite was included into the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding. Typical Belarusian New Year celebrations take place according to the ‘old’ Julian style calendar. The colorful Belarusian folk rite is held on the “Old” New Year's Eve and draws numerous guests from Belarus and other countries. About 500 men participate in the event, of which seven are chosen to play the roles of ‘Kalyady Tsars’ in the national historical-religious drama ‘Tsar Maximilian’. During the drama, ‘tsars’ visit the local houses of unmarried girls to give comic performances and receive good wishes and awards. The procession continues into the night, lit by torchlight. Locals believe that carolers bring happiness and success for the new year. Therefore they are very dear guests who are welcomed with a smile and an open heart. Video. 13 January 2013
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