Commemoration Day in Belarus

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This is a national holiday in Belarus.  It is the observance of the 9th day after Orthodox Easter which means it always fall on a Tuesday similar to Fat Tuesday in the United States. It is known as Radunitsa or Radonitsa it is a festival among many Eastern Slavs. Despite it being dependant upon Easter and it being observed as an Orthodox Christian holiday it’s origins are pagan with roots in an ancestral festival.

When Christianity arrived in the area rather than scrap the whole festival it was absorbed, into the Christian festival.  This is when families go to church and then to the cemetery of the family tomb, a meal is eaten and any leftovers are offered to the dead relatives.  Some still share in the pagan tradition and leave eggs signifying rebirth.  As a tradition in the United States called the day of the dead this festivity is also celebrating the dead in a festive way not on a sad somber tone, yet some people still choose to not celebrate it as a happy day.

We practiced this festivity by attending the Orthodox Church prayed at certain statues and lit candles for members of our families who have left this earth but are now with our savior.  As an observer it is very interesting to see all the cemeteries filled with families, dressed in their best clothing, hats, scarfs, flowers galore, meals that a king would be proud to sit at any table and families sprucing up the graveyard with beauty, quite a powerful site.

 

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