By Victor Andreev
Dazhynki-2011 kicked off with a traditional large scale parade, with folklore teams performing scenes from traditional customs. A column of young families marched with prams re-equipped as mini combine harvesters and tractors while young bikers and rockers marched alongside musicians playing wind instruments.
In modern Belarus, ‘dazhynki’ (known as harvesting time) is still celebrated in rural areas as it has always been. However, the national holiday has also become an occasion for general entertainment: for rural workers and urbanites alike.
A large screen was installed in Molodechno’s main square, creating a TV bridge for each region to show its farming achievements. Veliki Gostinets and Vilenskaya streets were closed to traffic, allowing trade stalls to operate and open air parties to be enjoyed, with music and dancing. As ever, quite a few tourists arrived to join the festivities.
As is traditional, President Alexander Lukashenko attended, presenting awards to those rural workers who have won the 2011 national harvesting competition. Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Valery Ivanov praised Molodechno’s efforts at making this year’s Dazhynki so memorable; he pronounced it to be the best to date. “The Ice Palace, the Summer Amphitheatre and the Central Square were built from scratch or rapidly reconstructed. Moreover, the holiday has brought change not only to Molodechno but to neighbouring districts and the main roads in the region, which are now more beautiful.”
The country is now preparing for the next farming year. Dazhynki will be hosted by Gorki (in the Mogilev Region’s Gorki District) in the second half of September 2012.