Posted: 12.06.2024 10:05:59

Let’s go on a festival spree in Belarus

Historical, musical and ethnic festivals abundant around Belarus in the summertime are conducive to spending a lot of time outdoors 

Aleksey Bibikov

Bringing together those who are far and near 

The 14th Republican Festival of National Cultures 2024, Grodno       BELTA

All people are brothers — you can readily believe that this statement is true at the Festival of National Cultures in Grodno. The vibrant holiday, which is always eagerly anticipated by city residents, traditionally gathered a lot of guests. Bright and fascinating programmes reflecting the richness of the national heritage were presented on the streets of the picturesque city. This festival is a real kaleidoscope of cultural diversity, where representatives of different ethnic groups come together in order to share creative achievements, introduce each other to the traditions of their nations, and find new friends. Culture embodies the love for the world. Belarus has consistently emphasised this truth, while the festival is a recognised symbol of friendship, unity and spiritual liaison of more than 140 nations and nationalities living in peace and harmony on the Belarusian land.
Thirty-five diasporas gathered in the city above the Neman River last weekend so as to walk hand in hand through the ancient streets in a colourful carnival. Russians and Tatars, Uzbeks and Azerbaijanis, Chinese and Iranians, Argentines and Egyptians live in peace and friendship on the Belarusian land. In terms of its format, the festival has no analogues in the world. The major theme of the 14th Republican Festival of National Cultures 2024 was family and family traditions. 
 At numerous farmsteads, hostesses presented authentic dishes and drinks absolutely free of charge. The Belarusian site was the largest and noisiest. Grodno Meat-Packing Plant JSC was responsible for the delicacies. It was possible to communicate not only with Belarusians from all over the country, but also with those who have been living abroad for a long time. Fellow countrymen came to the festival from Russia’s Kaliningrad and Tomsk, as well as from Latvia and Poland. 

Enjoying a royal rest 

Ballet performance in Nesvizh        Aleksey Stolyarov

The best scenery for a ballet or opera performance in summer is natural landscapes or façades of a real castle. That is why Belarus’ Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theatre is completing its season at the Nesvizh Palace and Park Complex for the fourteenth time. Actors, musicians, costumers, directors have already come to consider the ancient residence of the Radziwill family their second stage. 
Performances and concert programmes traditionally take place on several stages — in the courtyard and the Theatre Hall of the castle, in the City Hall and in the walls of the splendid Baroque Temple of God’s Body. This ensures you will get double pleasure admiring sophisticated frescoes to musical compositions by Giacomo Puccini — sheer delight!
DATE: June 14th–16th

Visiting the berry ‘Palace’ 

Luninets District is famous for its sweet, fragrant strawberries. Endless strawberry plantations stretch literally behind every private house, and residents have long been nicknamed ‘berry barons’. The local wholesale market is located in the village with a self-explanatory name — Dvorets [‘Palace’ in English]. 
After the working season, hardworking strawberry growers arrange a noisy and large-scale festival. Songs, dances and plenty of sweet enjoyment add to the vibrant atmosphere. Visitors can indulge in delicious strawberry cakes and stewed fruit drinks, a variety of jam and wines, salads and ice cream. In addition, the festival features a beauty contest — the Strawberry Queen is chosen not only based on her appearance but also taking into account how many kilogrammes of berries she has collected. The award for the winner is a crown and a chance to walk through the rural streets in a luxurious dress. 
If strawberry is not quite to your liking, do not worry. In July, a cherry fest is going to be held in the town of Glubokoe, Vitebsk Region, while in August, Cucumber Day is celebrated in the town of Shklov, Mogilev Region. 
DATE: the end of June

Strumming a guitar 

The farther into the forest, the brighter impressions you get. Fans of Russian (and not only) rock music will gather for the second year in a row in the small town of Pruzhany on the edge of the Belovezhskaya Pushcha. The names on the event posters speak for themselves — Bravo and Moral Code-X, Chizh & Co and Kino, Gorky Park rock bands and Joe Lynn Turner from Deep Purple… The Solntsestoyaniye [Solstice] Rock Festival features thirteen cool bands in total and promises to become one of the brightest and high-profile music events of this summer. 
All-inclusive bus tours are arranged from Minsk to Pruzhany for those who prefer not to bother about where to park their car or how to find their tent among hundreds of strangers. 
DATE: June 29th–30th

Bowing the head to the heroic feat 

Reenactment of the Great Patriotic War events 

The Bobruisk City Day is celebrated with gunfire and the whistle of bullets. Fake ones, though. Exactly eighty years ago, at the end of June 1944, the city was liberated from the Nazi fascist invaders by efforts of the troops of the First Byelorussian Front. The valiant Red Army blocked several Wehrmacht divisions (more than 25,000 soldiers) in the Bobruisk Pocket and opened the road to Minsk. This is how one of the largest offensives during the 1941-1945 Great Patriotic War — Operation Bagration — began. 
In memory of those events, a large military-patriotic rally will take place near the village of Shchatkovo. Hundreds of reenactors from Belarus, Russia, Bulgaria, Latvia, Estonia, and Israel will arrive there to show the visitors those crucial events. 
DATE: June 28th–30th 
PLACE: Shchatkovo village, Bobruisk District

By Sofia Arsenyeva