No other holiday causes so much festive fuss and pleasant preparations as the New Year in Belarus. And if you decide to celebrate it here in Belarus, be ready to do it like a true local!
BelarusFeed compiled a small list of traditions that are sacred to all Belarusians and must-dos for foreigners!
1. Give and recieve gifts
In Belarus, we don’t put gifts in stockings that hang from the fireplace, but carefully put them under the holiday tree.
It is traditional for gifts to be given after midnight on New Year. If you’re invited to a party – bring a gift and be ready to receive one.
2. Tell a poem to Ded Moroz
Ded Moroz or Grandfather Frost is an another version of the famous Santa Claus in the post-Soviet countries.
Unlike Santa Clause, Ded Moroz doesn’t rely on reindeer to fly him around and prefer to enter houses using doors instead of chimneys.
One can meet Belarusian Ded Moroz and his granddaughter Snegurochka at his residence in Belovezhskaya Pushcha.
If you want to get a gift you will have to recite a poem, sing a song or dance to show your talents to the old kind man.
3. Call family and friends
Don’t forget to call your family, friends, relatives, colleagues and acquaintances to wish them a happy New Year.
Try to remember these phrases in Belarusian and Russian to impress everyone.
“Z Novym Godam!”/ “S Novym Godom!”/ “Happy New Year”
“Sa sviatam!” / “S prazdnikom!” / “Happy Holiday!”
“Z nadychodziačym” / “S nastupayushchim!” / “Happy upcoming year!”
Replying to the wishes one can say “I vas taksama!” / “I vas takzhe!” / “And you too!”
4. Buy canned green peas
Don’t be too surprised if you see a long queue of customers with green peas cans in their hands several hours before the holiday in a nearby supermarket.
Green peas is a crucial ingredient of many New Year salads, there is even a superstition that it’s a bad sign to celebrate the New Year without it.
5. Cook and eat traditional meal
If it is 31 December and you are in Belarus, prepare your stomach for a sophisticated dinner, with many elaborate dishes, and delicacies.
The old tradition says that Belarusian New Year table should have 12 dishes, each dish symbolizes a certain month of the year.
Today old and new traditions are fused together and the New Year is unthinkable without traditional holiday salads “Olivier” and “Shuba”.
Oh, and do not forget about the “Soviet” champagne and mandarin oranges!
6. Watch the New Year’s movies
Along with congratulations, eating basins of salads and drinking champagne, a special part of celebration is watching special TV programs and classic movies.
Ditch trivial “Home Alone” and “Grinch” and dip into the atmosphere of the Belarusian New Year with “The Irony of Fate or Enjoy Your Bath!”, “Ivan Vasilievich Changes His Profession” or “Prostokvashino” cartoon.
7. Listen to the president’s speech
Just before midnight, President Alexander Lukashenko addresses the nation with a short speech.
The president sums up the results of the year, talks about the country’s main achievements and plans for the future.
Right after the speech, countdown to the New Year starts. The Belarusians clink glasses precisely when the clock strikes 12 and the anthem starts palying.
Don’t forget to make a wish!
8. Follow local beliefs
“The way you meet the New Year is the way you will spend it” is something you will hear on the New Year Eve.
It means that the new year’s day has to be joyous and festive, free from worries and arguments. Meet it only with those you really love!
9. Be in epicentre of fun
Can’t find a company to celebrate the New Year?
No worries, check out our special map of traditional events that will take place in Minsk and join the cheering crowds to celebrate and have fun.
It’s a holiday, after all!
10. Watch the fireworks
Don’t miss the festive fireworks show that is usually seen from every part of the city.
The lit night sky, dancing people, atmosphere of happiness, your loved ones nearby and enough food to last a week, what else do you need to make one more new year special?