Kalyady

From late December into January, groups of villagers dress up in costumes and go house-to-house singing traditional “kaliadki” songs, for which they are rewarded with treats. The motley cast of Kalyady characters usually includes “Kaza” (the goat), a symbol of fertility and energy, as well as “Kon” (the horse), Baba” (the old woman), “Dzied” (the old man), and “Tsygan” (the gypsy).

Kalyady

The crowd moves from east to west, following the sun, and knocks at every door. Each visit consists of three parts: greeting the masters of the house, performing traditional games and songs, and receiving edible treats. Here we see pictures from the recent Kalyady celebration in Roh, a small village in Salihorsk region. The celebration was organized by the folk collective “Palesskia Krynicy.”

Kalyady

Kalyady

It comes from Latin "Calendae", which is the name for the first day of each month. Another version of the origin of the word is the word "Kola" (the wheel) which is related tothe turn of the year. In the annual cycle of folk rituals and celebrations this holiday was the beginning. Later it was very nicely adopted for Christmas celebration by Orthodox and Catholic churches.

Kalyady

Kalyady

The ritual food was cooked for three ritual dinners: "posnaia viachera" (fasting dinner) with no meat or fat in the beginning, "toustaia" (fat) or "miasnaia" (meat) dinner with meat, eggs and sweets on New Year Eve and the last one - "halodnaia" (hungry) or "vadzianaia" (watery) at the end of Kaliady. 

Kalyady

Kalyady

During Kaliady there were a lot of fun going on. Folks would dress themselves as animals and fantastic beasts,  carry the sun and the goat's head on a stick and visit different houses  trick-or-treating. They would sing special Kaliady carrols in which the performers greet the house owners, wish them success and plentitude. The youth were playing games, perform in folk theatre plays for public, "skamarohs" would entertain the crowd, play jokes on people.

Kalyady

Kalyady

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