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Folklore, traditions and thrills to become mane accents of winter tourist season
By Margarita Dorokhova

Few tourists are surprised by a snowy winter scene but, of course, this can become the fairytale background for new activities. The National Tourism Agency’s calendar of around a hundred of the top events countrywide is expected to attract far and wide.

Among the festivities on offer is a trip to see the ‘Tereshka’s Wedding’ folk custom, on January 6th, in the Lepel District. You can become part of the country’s intangible cultural heritage by attending as a ‘wedding guest’. Later, on January 13th, UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage listed ‘Kolyady Tsars’ (in the photo) is held in the Kopyl District’s Semezhevo village.

The village of Pogost in the Zhitkovichi District became known all over the world on the eve of 2011 for its ‘Shchedrets’ custom (celebrating New Year Kolyady). It greatly impressed the American CNN company, earning Pogost ranking in the world’s top three places to celebrate the winter holidays, ahead of Salzburg, Sidney and New York. 

“Before compiling our calendar, we sent letters to regions and districts asking them to let us know what interesting events they were planning,” explains Yekaterina Lipen, from the Marketing Department of the National Tourism Agency’s Tourist Information Centre. The custom of ‘Mizhrechcha — Yurauski Karagod’, which is also on the UNESCO List of Historical and Cultural Heritage, is among those events expected to attract many visitors.

The Head of the Culture Department at the Zhitkovichi District Executive Committee, Sergey Agievich, tells us, “For us, Kolyady is very traditional, held in almost every settlement. It isn’t viewed as something exclusive. Pogost has received amazing attention for its ‘Shchedrets’ celebrations but our other villages — such as Richev and Ozerany, also celebrate spectacularly. They remain hidden gems.”
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