WEST EUROPE

THE REPUBLIC OF BELARUS

The Republic of Belarus is a state in Eastern Europe with its capital in Minsk. 
From the 10th to the 13th centuries, Belarusian culture was characterized by a high level of development and a close connection with Christianity. Along with its development, literacy has spread throughout the territory. This period also includes manuscripts, such as the Gospel of Turovo. In the 14th and 16th centuries, there was further development of the national culture of Belarus and of the Belarusian language.

The culture of the country is probably the best preserved among the Eastern European Slavs a collection of ancient pagan customs and traditions. Even in spite of the centuries-old domination of Christianity, both Orthodox and Catholic, the echoes of many ancient rituals have survived in Belarus, such as Maslenica and Kupala, "Gromnitsa" and "Gukanne of spring" (the break of the year from winter to summer), "Kolyad" and "Dozhinok" (the end of harvest festival) and some others.

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Ancient songs are closely connected with calendar ceremonies of agricultural peoples. The distribution is «kolyadki», «shedrovki», «vesnyanki», «volochebny», «yuryevsky», «kupala» and the others. There are many songs of the family ceremonial cycle: wedding, christening, lullaby, causation. Belarusian national music is closely linked to the music of the Russian and Ukrainian people.
As before, the national clothing of Belarusians is made of white fabrics. Men wear shirts over their heads, with a cut on their breasts and a colored belt. The men’s national costume also includes sleeveless pants, canvas pants and various headgear. Women wear shirts or tunics. The lower part of the women’s national dress is a plaid skirt, over which an apron and a colored belt are tied. Also an integral part of a woman’s costume is a bright sleeveless suit. Women’s heads are decorated with wreaths or bandages of cloth.
The most famous folk dances of Belarus are «Liavoniha», «Yurachka», «Charot», «Bulba» and «Dudaryki». All the dances listed are considered to be couples and are similar in style. The main differences are the meaning context, each dance bears its history and emotional colors, but at the same time the energy, dynamics and fun are preserved in every folk dance.
To date, there are four Belarusian cultural sites on the UNESCO World Heritage List: Belovezhskaya Pushcha, Mir Castle Complex, Struve Geodetic Arc, Residental and Cultural Complex of the Radziwill Family at Nesvizh. 
Among the prominent personalities of Belarus, such names as Barbara Radziwill, Francisck Skorina, Tadeush Kostyushko, Mark Shagal, Vasil’ Bykov, Leon Bakst, Vitaly Sherbo and the others.

Belarusian women's folk costume

Belarusian men's folk costume

Silk Belors belts

Three-horned duda

Belarusian folk instrument.