Kolyady (December 25 - January 7) Have you ever heard of a group of people wandering around the streets dressed in traditional costumes, animal fur and with musical instruments? If no, then you still have a chance to see this old-time but living tradition of Kolyady while visiting Belarus. (Maybe it will be even an impetus for you to travel to Belarus in winter!)
Kolyady used to be a pre-Christian Slavic festivity, connected with the winter solstice. People praised the days after the solstice, which would last longer and bring more sunshine. Later the tradition of Kolyady transformed into Christmas festivities, which lasted more than a week.
What did actually our ancestors do, waiting for the New Year to come? On the 24th of December our ancestors were greeting Kalyada, the God`s Sun Mother. In her honour each family prepared delicious food. People lit candles and also put some straw under the table cloth. The following day people enjoyed themselves with different activities. An obligatory tradition of these days was caroling of groups of young people from house to house, singing songs and asking for presents. Also, fortunetelling is the part of the holiday was most interesting for single girls. Numerous ways to predict the future appeared. Some traditions of foreseeing the future were quite scary, as the girl, alone, in a dark empty room put 2 mirrors in front of each other, calling for her future husband and waiting for the reflection in the mirrors.
Certainly, nowadays, old traditions are not so widespread. Still now there is a tendency to revive old customs and traditions, especially if they are connected with positive emotions, enjoyable time and bright impressions. And we will happily assist you in getting long-living and diverse experience from celebrating our folk holiday “Kolyady”.