Belarusian tradition: Christmas game Tsyareshka's Wedding


Belarusian tradition: Christmas game Tsyareshka's Wedding

From the ancient times, Belarusians have the ritual game Tsyareshka's Wedding. Today it is fun, but a couple of centuries ago it was a serious ritual. This game is preserved only in the Lepel region and is held only once a year for the Christmas holidays. It is accompanied by folk songs, dances and tons of humor and positive emotions.

Svetlana Karaban, head of the folk club Krugoverts:
It is one of the most our favorite games. Tsyareshka's Wedding helps young people from the nearby villages to meet each other and find love.

The evening begins with dances, krakowiak, polka and lyavoniha. The most interesting part begins after the hostess announces that it is time to marry Tsyareshka.

The most honorable members, the host and the hostess, marry young people. The hostess takes the hand of the man and the host takes the hand of the woman. They lead them to the center of the room, and dance lyavoniha together. It is believed that young people are married after that ritual.

In the Vitebsk region, this ritual game was transmitted from generation to generation.

The part of the ritual games that brings the greatest fun begins afterwards. One girl and boy tries to run away from her would-be partner. This symbolic act is believed to be the “last opportunity to get away from a bad or unsuitable partner.”

Those who are caught in the previous part of the game form a pair and continue to play. Next in line are kisses. Young people sit back to back on a bench and after a signal turn their heads either to the left or to the right. Those who turn their heads to one side receive a sweet kiss. It is believed these comic pre-wedding acts predict a real wedding for young people and happy life ahead. Wedding time usually followed these Christmas games.