People of Belarus look forward to New Year’s Eve with great zeal and enthusiasm as it is a day of magnificent celebrations and observance of various customs, rituals and traditions.
For a long period of time, New year’s Eve In Belarus was observed on different dates and there were different New Year customs performed. Different areas of the city ushered in the New Year at different times. The parts that belonged to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania marked January 1 as the New Year Day in 1364.
However, the Byzantine tradition followed in the eastern territories of Belarus celebrated the New Year on September 1– from 1493 to 1700. It was only after an order was issued on 20 December 1700 by Peter I that the new year began to be celebrated throughout the country on January 1.
Ancient Traditions Followed In New Year
Ancestors in Belarus celebrated New Years Eve a day before the arrival of the spring equinox. Carolers went from house to house on the New Year’s Day and were welcomed with respect by the house owners. Blessings were showered on the host, partner of the host, adult daughter and son of the house owner and traditional gifts such as cheese, eggs and sausages were offered to the carolers as a part of the New Year’s celebrations. However, the tradition of caroling became non-existent in the Middle Ages when Christian Church gained prominence in Belarus and challenged the pagan traditions.
Solemn Ritual Dinner Integral To New Years Eve Celebrations
In the bygone era, people of Belarus followed the custom of cooking an elaborate meal as they believed in the principle that the things they do for the New Year’s Day will determine how they will live the rest of the year. Even today, many families in Belarus prepare twelve dishes, each signifying a month of the year. The dinner included delicacies made of pork, beef, meat-balls and sausages, pancakes, cheese, butter, marinated vegetables and other things. Kuti is a special and a mandatory dish on the dining table of Belarusian families. People prepare the festive meal on this day in the hope that their daily meals turn out to be as lavish and good throughout the year.
Festive Mood Throughout Belarus on New years Eve
People all over Belarus are in a mood to celebrate the eve of the New Year’s Day and the festive fervor is at its height. Families observe various age-old traditions to bring good luck, prosperity and happiness on the eve for a bright year ahead. Belarusians follow the ritual of penning down their wishes on a piece of paper once the clock starts striking midnight. The wish put down in paper is believed to come true if the paper is burnt just before the last strike. New Year’s Eve ball attended by the President of the Republic of Belarus is the biggest highlight for many kids and young people.
After observing the traditions and reveling in nightlong celebrations, people in Belarus look forward to enjoying the most popular folk holidays- the New Year’s Day.