Belarusian Rite Of The Kolyady (Christmas) Tsars

The rite of the Kolyady Tsars dates back to the 18th century, when the tsar’s military units were located not far from the village of Semezhevo. According to the local legend, during the New Year celebrations in accordance to the old style calendar (Julian calendar) soldiers and officers visited local houses to give comic performances and receive rewards. Since then, locals continued the tradition and turned it into a unique Christmas event. The rite of the Kolyady Tsars combines the elements of carnival and folk plays, with distinctive local performing arts, decorative and applied arts (costumes, interior decorations), special Christmas national cuisine dishes. People believe that being visited by the ''tsars'' brings peace, harmony and wealth for a year.

Tsars folk company
 
The rite was revived in 1996: the necessary documentary materials were collected, old-timers were interviewed. Since then Semezhevo has been hosting the Kolyady Tsars annually. Traditionally, young men and boys participate in the rite of the Kolyady Tsars. They dress in white trousers and shirts, with red embroidered Semezhevo belts crisscrossed across their chests, and high caps adorned with colorful paper ribbons. Every young man plays his own role - doctor, drummer, fur carrier… The other characters include the main lead Tsar Maximilian, the Tsar Mamay, the Ded (old man) and Baba (old lady).

Kolyady Tsars
 
Moving along the village’s street, the procession performs the historical religious drama “Tsar Maximilian” featuring picturesque scenes, folk medicine secrets. As darkness falls, the “tsars” light torches. The rite is celebrated on “Shchedry Vecher” (Shchedrets, Shchodryk, Malanka, from Russian ''shchedry'' - lavish) on 13-14 January.

The drama “King Maximilian” in action

Read More


History and Culture Museum-Reserve Zaslavl

Zaslavl is one of the most ancient Belarusian towns. It was first mentioned in chronicles in 1127. However, it was founded much earlier.

Dzyady

It's rechristian celebration originating from the cult of ancestors.

Belarusian State Museum of Vernacular Architecture and Ethnic Heritage

It is Belarus’ single museum-skansen that represents a whole village of architectural specimens of the 17th-20th centuries.

Comments