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‘Marriage’ of chimney takes place in Strochitsy

The Belarusian State Museum of Folk Architecture and Everyday Life, near the village of Strochitsy, recently gathered guests for its Autumn Fest
By Svetlana Krylova

For more than 20 years, three ethnographic regions of the country have been represented: Central Belarus, the lake area and the Dnieper River area. Each has its own architecture and style of interior, which are fascinating to explore.

As well as the autumn holidays of ‘Bogach’ (a rich man) and ‘Pokrova’ (the protecting veil), guests were invited to partake in a traditional wedding ceremony ‘Karavai’, join a nobleman for a game of ‘Pan Bykowski’ and dance to the music by Slavyansky Nastroi folk group.

Perhaps the most interesting event was the restoration of the old ‘Luchnik’s Marriage’ rite — based on the cult of fire, domestic spirits and Perun. More than a dozen recordings are known to us today — mainly from Polesie in the 19th and early 20th century. The rite was traditionally held twice a year: in the autumn for Symon (September 1st), when the days shorten, and in the spring, for St. Thomas’s week (after Easter). The ‘luchnik’ (the chimney) is decorated with flowers, ribbons and embroidered napkins, while vodka, pieces of bacon, corn, nuts and other treats are thrown into the fire in supplication. Participants express their wishes for wealth and health for the family and the rite ends with the womenfolk singing a wedding song to the ‘groom’ (which makes clear that the newly-weds are Chimney and Work).
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