Straw weaving in Belarus included in the UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage
Belarus’ straw weaving has been inscribed on the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage. This decision was taken by UNESCO on 1 December 2022. Straw handicraft made by our masters has no analogues in the world and is one of the distinctive forms of spiritual values and artistic traditions of the Belarusians.
The nation has been weaving straw in Belarus for ages. East Slavs began to use straw as weaving material in the period of agricultural expansion at the turn of the II-I millennium BC. This craft has its origins in ancient rites associated with the cult of bread and fertility.
To the end of the ХХth century there was a real blossoming of Belarusian straw weaving. In 2003 and 2005 an international festival of straw art was held in Minsk.
Women predominate among artisans. Men mainly create traditional items in the technique of spiral weaving: oversized containers, men’s headdresses, ritual Christmas masks, etc. The craftsmen offer their straw products at fairs, festivals, exhibitions and in craft and souvenir shops.
Straw weaving is an expressive phenomenon of the Belarusian culture. The artistic practice of straw weaving remains a living tradition that is continuously enriched. There is a system of teaching of the craft, transfer of knowledge about technology of processing of the material, continuity of its artistic traditions.
The National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, chairs of ethnology and folklore of leading universities in the country, as well as regional centres of folklore are engaged in identification, study and promotion of straw weaving.
Belarusian straw has become the fifth national element in the UNESCO World Intangible Cultural Heritage lists (along with the Christmas rite “Christmas Tzar” in the village of Semezhovo, the celebration in honour of the icon of the Mother of God Budslavskaya in Budslau, Minsk region, the spring rite “Yuryevsky Round Table” in the village of Pogost in Gomel region and the culture of forest bee-keeping in Belarus by example of Lelchitsy district of Gomel region.