Let s talk about Belarus.
What celebrations in Belarus are your favourite?
The life of each of us is full of "high days:" exciting days which we look forward to like school trips, visits to the circus or theatre and "holidays" which are printed red in the calendar.
I’d like to tell you about my most favourite holidays. First comes New Year. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that New Year is the greatest holiday in Belams and no other holiday is celebrated as wholeheartedly as New Year.
Throughout our country the preparations for greeting New Year start long before the 31 st of December. People send and get thousands of New Year cards, prepare presents for their families and friends and decorate their houses and a New Year tree with shining bells, colorful balls and bright lights. The tradition of decorating a New Year tree is by the way most popular with any Belarusian family. On New Year’s Eve the homes are full of great atmosphere of expectation. Air is filled with fresh smell of New Year tree and delicious smells of great variety of dishes prepared for the holiday meal. People carry on the celebration with their friends dancing, singing and making fireworks.
Then comes Christmas. Somehow it is the continuation of New Year’s mood. I enjoy Christmas holiday mood all around with its Christmas tree, decorated homes and trees, illuminations, organizing a special meal and a lot of festive foods. We exchange gifts with our relatives and friends.
Then Easter comes with its colorful eggs and very beautiful pies. There is a great ceremony at church with lit candles and songs. Churches are filled with flowers on Easter Day. Everything represents new life.
What can you tell me about Belarusian national cuisine?
Belarusian cuisine is known for a bid choice of potato dishes and rich soups, often dressed with sour cream, as well as cold soups refreshing for the hot summer periods. Geographical position and weather conditions in Belarus resulted in a wide use of such products as forest mushrooms and berries, herbs, apples, pears, river fish and crab, milk products. It is still traditional for Belarusian families to make marinated mushrooms and vegetables based on home recipes. Cooking methods characteristic for the old traditional Belarusian cuisine are stewing and boiling.
The first meal of the day in the morning is breakfast. Some Belarusian people eat toast with butter and jam or marmalade and nothing else. Others eat a bowl of cereals or muesli with milk or porridge. Belarusian breakfast may also contain sausages, bacon, scrambled or fried egg, beans, etc. Melon, grapefruit or fruit cocktails are popular, but the most common drinks at this time of the day are orange juice or a cup of tea or coffee.
The second meal of the day in Belarus is lunch. We usually eat a bowl of soup with some slices of bread, and also a cup of tea.
Dinner is the last meal Belarusian people have. It’s a cooked meal of meat or fish and some veg. It’s common to eat desert after the main dish.
Many people in Belarus like eating draniki or pancakes with machanka, Belarusian traditional souse. It may be different in different regions. Most often it is made with pork, sausage, sliced onion, sour cream and flour.
Ask me if I participated in any traditional celebrations.
Did you take part in any traditional celebrations?
What did you do ?
Did you make any special things or clothes for the holiday?
What holidays were your favourite?
Did you have any family traditions?
Which festival in Belarus will you recommend your British friend to visit?
I would recommend to see "Kupalle" because it is the most romantic and mysterious holiday. I think my British friend would be excited to jump over the fire and look for a magic fern-flower.
Kupala is the old pagan Belarusian god of the sun whose feast is at Midsummer, after the Soltice day. It is one of the most mysterious holidays in Belarus. There are a lot of legends and customs connected with this magic holiday. According to one of them there is a constant struggle between good and evil in our soul. People try to help the forces of light to defeat the evil witches. They light bonfires, dance and sing folk songs around them and young girls and boys jump over the fire, holding their hands together. Fire is believed to have a purifying effect, cleaning off sins. Another attribute of the Kupala feast is girls making wreaths of wild flowers and wear them on heads and then, at dawn, throwing them into the river or lake and letting them float. And one of the main moments of celebration is the search for a magic fern-flower which blossoms only one night a year and is believed to bring happiness.
Are you proud of your national holidays and traditions?
Yes, I am proud of our national traditions; they are unique and make us feel a little bit different from other nationalities. For example, the celebration of "Kupalle" is romantic and mysterious. When we celebrate Victory Day I feel proud of our people who went through great difficulties and showed courage and heroism.