Radunitsa (Radonitsa), or Day of Commemoration of the Departed.
On Tuesday of the second week after Easter, the Orthodox Church celebrates Radonitsa, a day of special commemoration of the departed, the first after the feast of Easter. In 2023, Radunitsa falls on 25 April. In Orthodox churches on Radunitsa, a funeral liturgy and memorial service are traditionally held.
It is a tradition of the Orthodox Church to celebrate Radunitsa on the ninth day after Easter. It is believed that the soul of the deceased goes to heaven after this time.
This day has its origins in the pagan tradition: in pre-Christian times, this event was associated with the cult of ancestors. Etymologically, the word “Radunitsa” is derived from the words “kin” and “joy”.
On this day people come to the graves of their relatives. Every year on this holiday more than a million Belarusians go to cemeteries. The Orthodox Church has a negative attitude to meals at cemeteries, especially alcohol. It is better to refuse eating at cemeteries, as these traditions are associated with paganism. The most important thing on this day is to pray for the deceased. Also on this day there is no need to weep; Radunitsa is a holiday not of sadness and grief, but of joy of eternal life, the victory of Jesus Christ over death.
In Belarus, Tuesday, on which Orthodox Radunitsa falls, is a day off. As a rule, there are four days off – Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. It is decided to postpone the working days and get one working Saturday.