Heritage of past times shifts to cultural treasure

Three Mogilev Region customs become known as intangible historical and cultural treasures: lapti weaving in Dribin District, ‘Bryazgun’ ritual in Cherikov District and traditional wedding and baptismal songs in Gorki District

By Semen Kulagin

The Belarusian Republican Scientific Methodical Council on Cultural and Historical Heritage at the Culture Ministry has acknowledged the new treasures on the list, each being unique. Lapti (footwear woven with bast or birch bark) weaving in the Dribin District is being passed on to masters at the local crafts house by women from the village of Korovchino. Singing traditions from the Gorki District’s Parshino village are unique in their manner of performance and in their content, being performed in local dialect, with a repetitive melodic tone. The ‘Bryazgun’ custom, from the Cherikov District’s Narki village, combines pagan and Christian elements (worshipping the gods of spring fertility and the icon of St. Peter and Paul). Remarkably, spring arrives on the same day as that honouring these saints and is considered to be a talisman of the village.

“All the mentioned customs continue to be observed today. Moreover, children and youngsters are learning the art of lapti weaving, while learning to sing songs and take part in the custom. It’s vital to preserve our intangible cultural heritage,” stresses the leading editor of the Mogilev Regional Methodical Centre on Folk Creativity and Cultural-Enlightening Work, Olga Semchenko.

Efforts to preserve intangible cultural heritage in the region are to continue, with customs, songs, dances and crafts being supported in the Mogilev Region. Next year, specialists from the Folk Creativity Centre are to begin preparing materials for UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List. At present, nine customs in the Mogilev Region possess the status of intangible historical and cultural treasures, making it a leader among other Republican regions.

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