Living customs: the Christmas tzar
The custom “Christmas Zar” takes place on the so-called “generous evening” (Shchedry vetscher) – in each case from 13 to 14 January.
In 2009, the unique Belarusian folk custom “Christmas Zar” was included in UNESCO’s list of intangible cultural heritage. This custom exists only in the village of Semezhevo (Kopyl district, Minsk region).
The history of the custom has its roots in the 18th century, when units of the tsarist army were stationed near the village of Semezhevo. Legend has it that during the New Year celebrations soldiers and officers walked around the courts in the old style (Julian calendar) and performed comedies. In return they were served by the landlords. After the troops had left the village, the locals not only preserved the tradition, but also developed it into a unique Christmas tradition.
The custom “Christmas Tsar” combines elements of carnival and folk drama. These include folklore, decorative and applied arts and special Christmas dishes.
In whose house the “tsars” were, according to popular belief, peace, harmony and wealth prevail throughout the year.
The custom has developed into a permanent institution in the cultural life of the country, which is celebrated by a large number of locals and tourists.
Take the opportunity to visit Belarus in winter and combine it with our Minsk trip.