Dziady (Commemoration of the Dead) in Belarus Date in the current year: November 2, 2016

Dziady (Commemoration of the Dead) in Belarus Dziady is an ancient Slavic festival dedicated to commemoration of the dead. It is still informally celebrated on Belarus on November 2.

The word “dziady” can be literally translated as “grandfathers”. The name of the festival refers to the tradition of honoring the deceased ancestors. In ancient times, the dead were commemorated twice a year, in spring and in summer. The commemoration involved ritual meals and libations.

The revival of the ancient tradition of commemoration in Belarus was initiated by the Belarusian Popular Front (BPF) in 1988, during the perestroika times. The BPF was established as both a cultural movement and a political party that focused on the revival of the national idea.

Dziady is not an official day of commemoration in Belarus; that would be Radonitsa. However, many people visit the graves of their deceased relatives on both Radonitsa and Dziady. They clean the graves and decorate them with flowers and memorial candles.

Besides, Dziady is marked with an opposition march that has been held every year since 1988. Oppositionists march to Kyrapaty, an area near Minsk where a vast number of people were executed between 1937 and 1941 during the Great Purge by the Soviet secret police.

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Dziady, commemoration of the dead, holidays in Belarus, remembrance day, day of commemoration