Radonitsa in Belarus ― Date, History, and Details
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Let's dive deeper into learning more about the history of Radonitsa in Belarus and why people celebrate or observe it.
History of Radonitsa in Belarus and How to Celebrate/ Observe It
Radonitsa is an ancient Slavic holiday that falls on the second Tuesday after Easter and is celebrated in Belarus. It is a day to commemorate and honor the dead, especially those who have passed away within the past year. Traditionally, families visit the graves of their loved ones and lay flowers and candles around the gravesite. This is a time when people remember and honor their deceased relatives, friends and ancestors.
In Belarus, Radonitsa celebrations begin the night before, with a special dinner called “Koliva” which consists of boiled wheat mixed with honey, raisins and nuts. The traditional meal symbolizes rebirth and resurrection. Families also bring food to the cemetery for their deceased loved ones, as a sign of respect and remembrance.
At the graveyard, families will gather around the gravesites and say prayers, sing hymns, and exchange stories about the deceased. After the prayers and songs, family members will each take three spoonfuls of the Koliva meal and sprinkle it over the gravesite. This is believed to help nourish the spirits of the dead and bring them peace. Following this, families will walk around the gravesite three times, then light candles and leave flowers. This is done to bring light, hope and joy to the deceased.
Radonitsa is a powerful and moving celebration that brings families together to honor and remember their loved ones. It is a time to reflect on life, death and the importance of cherishing our time with those we love.