Memorial Day “Dziady”
“Dziady” is a day in memory of the ancestors. This day is celebrated by Christians since ancient times at the beginning of November. The word “Dziady” is translated from Belarusian into English as “grandfathers”.
“Dziady” is one of the oldest traditions of Belarusians to remember the deceased ancestors. On this day it is still common to go to the cemetery. The day before, the graves are prepared and cleaned up at home to invite the spirits of the ancestors and to thank them for the care of the dead. Afterwards one washed oneself in the bath house (Banja) and left water and branches for the ancestors. Each family generously gave alms to beggars who were walking through the villages that day.
For “Dziady” even today special dishes are prepared, among others “Kutsja” (barley porridge with raisins), blini (pancakes), fried eggs and meat. Traditionally some of the food and drinks are kept in a special place for the dead.
On this day, families traditionally gather in cemeteries to look after the graves of their loved ones. In contrast to Haloween, this is a “cheerful” festival of remembrance of the dead.
Churches throughout the country hold services. The prayers for the dead can also be said at home. It is customary to remember all the good things a person has done in his life and to thank God for him and his deeds.
About other special holidays in Belarus you can read here.