If we mark on the calendar all of Belarus’ festivals, it’s clear that every day sees a celebration somewhere, in one of the Republic’s cities or towns. There’s something for every taste. Here are our top ten.
1. The most tourist-oriented
An annual Festival of Excursion Guides is held across all regional centres, dedicated to the International Day of Monuments and Sites. In 2013, during the 5th festival weekend, 115 unusual excursions were organised, across thirty-one locations.
2. The most spiritual
The international ‘Mahutny Boža’ (Mighty God) Festival of Spiritual Music, in Mahilioŭ, expands the geography of its participants each year. The 2013 programme included exhibitions, conferences, creative meetings, concerts, and a choir contest. Guests come from across the CIS and beyond, with men’s monastery choirs this year expected from Armenia and Georgia.
3. The most classical
The Yuri Bashmet International Festival is a multi-faceted holiday of arts, giving young performers the opportunity to perform alongside world famous artistes. The Decree of the President of the Republic of Belarus awarded Yuri Bashmet, artistic leader and chief conductor of the Novaya Rossiya State Symphony Orchestra, the Francysk Skaryna Order for his significant personal contribution to the development of Belarusian-Russian cultural ties and the promotion of classical musical art.
4. The tastiest
The 6th International Festival of Traditional Culture and Culinary Mastery, ‘Motaĺskija Prysmaki’ (Motaĺ Delicacies), is held in the Bresckaja voblasć, in the agro-town of Motaĺ. The most ‘tasty’ event of the year is scheduled for August: a true holiday for everyone who enjoys ancient and traditional Belarusian cuisine.
5. The most ethnic
Representatives of almost 140 nationalities live in the Republic. The Festival of National Cultures, held in Hrodna since 1996, unites Belarus, gathering the best national-cultural association groups (of which there are more than three dozen) every other year. Hosted by the city on the River Nioman, they present the art of their nations, under state patronage.
6. The most folk-oriented
Pastavy, a picturesque place in Belarusian Paazierje, hosts the International Festival of Folk Music, ‘Zviniać Cymbaly i Harmonik’ (Cembalo and Harmonic Ring Out). The contest is open to folk musicians from Belarus and abroad.
7. The friendliest
For more than thirty years, the Slavonic Unity International Festival has gathered thousands of young people each June, from Belarus, Russia and Ukraine, in the Dobrušski rajon of the Homieĺskaja voblasć, near the Friendship of Three Countries Monument.
8. The most historical
Military-patriotic associations and reconstruction clubs are extremely active in Belarus. The festival of medieval culture, Rubon, may be the most colourful, with tournaments of knights and archers, bugurts (teams of armoured knights battling according to medieval rules) and ancient games. Audiences flock to Polack to watch, and to take part.
9. The most artistic
The most famous Belarusian painter abroad, Marc Chagall, was born in Viciebsk. In July, art experts and fans of his work gather in his historical homeland for the International Marc Chagall Days. Exhibitions, readings and open-air workshops delight all those who attend.
10. The most extreme
So far, in its four years of existence, 25,000 people have visited the International Extreme Sports Festival, Wolves’ Paths. Held 3km from Babrujsk, and organised by the Russian Night Wolves, together with their Babrujsk branch, the programme includes a parade of motorcycles, competitions in quad-biking and motocross, stuntriding, a power show, exhibition performances of paratroopers, various contests for motorcycles, a fire show, fireworks, rock concerts and an evening disco, to the roar of motorcycles.