Radonitsa (Ancestor Veneration Day) Date in the current year: May 10, 2016

Radonitsa (Ancestor Veneration Day) Radonitsa (Radunitsa) is an ancestor veneration holiday celebrated by East Slavs. It falls on the second Tuesday after Orthodox Easter. In Belarus, Radonitsa is a public holiday and non-working day.

The ancient Slavs used to visit graves of the deceased family members in spring. After the Christianization of Kievan Rus, this tradition transformed into the Orthodox festival of Radonitsa. The name of the festival is derived from the word “radost”, which means “joy”, and can be translated as “Day of Rejoicing”.

It may seem strange that a memorial day for the departed is called joyful. However, there is no contradiction. The Christian belief that lies behind this holiday is the remembrance of the resurrection of Jesus and the hope and joy brought by it.

On this day, people visit the graves of their deceased relatives and consume traditional foods such as kutia (a sweet grain pudding), kulichi (a type of Easter bread), and painted Easter eggs. The paschal foods should be consumed with joy rather than sorrow.

Many people leave Easter eggs, cookies, sweets, and candles on the graves of the deceased. In some regions, it is customary to give gifts to one's in-laws, so that joy may be in every house.

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