Photo of the Day for August 21, 2010

August 20, 2010 9:00 pm

Haying in August, Sjarhjejevichy 2009/Жнівеньскі сенакос, Сяргеевічы 2009 год

Photos of the Day for August 20, 2010

August 19, 2010 9:00 pm

Apple-Blessing Festival (part V), Azdamichy 2009/Яблычны Спас (частка V), Аздамічы 2009 год

Apple-Blessing, observed on Transfiguration Day in the Orthodox calendar, is an early harvest festival.

In Azdamichy in the Central Pripet region of Polesia the Apple-Blessing church service is especially heavily attended.  At the end of the service the priest circles the church three times to bless parishioners’ apples and other fruits.  Parishioners then hurry to the cemetery to place fruit at the graves of their forebears.

Photo of the Day for August 19, 2010

August 18, 2010 9:00 pm

Apple-Blessing Festival (part IV), Azdamichy 2009/Яблычны Спас (частка IV), Аздамічы 2009 год

Apple-Blessing, observed on August 19 — Transfiguration Day in the Orthodox calendar — is an early harvest festival.  In memory of children who have died young, people, especially women, traditionally must not eat new apples or other newly-ripe fruit before the blessing of apples; it is a traditional belief that deferring the eating of apples permits deceased children to receive apples from the Lord in heaven first.

The Apple-Blessing church service in Azdamichy in the Central Pripet region of Polesia is always heavily attended.

Photos of the Day for August 18, 2010: The Extraordinary in the “Ordinary” VI

August 17, 2010 9:00 pm

The Extraordinary in the “Ordinary” VI: Inheritance/Надзвычайнае ў “звычайным“ (частка VII): Дарога расьце ўсё жыцьцё

It is exceptionally moving to see how carefully and steadily Belarusan parents and especially grandparents pass on traditions to their children and grandchildren.

Асабліва кранае тое, з якой стараннасьцю, з якім цярпеньнем беларускія бацькі і асабліва дзядулі і бабулі перадаюць малодшым свае традыцыі.

Apple-Blessing Festival (part III), Azdamichy 2009/Яблычны Спас (частка IIІ), Аздамічы 2009 год

Photo of the Day for August 17, 2010

August 16, 2010 9:00 pm

Apple-Blessing Festival (part II), Azdamichy 2009/Яблычны Спас (частка IІ), Аздамічы 2009 год

Apple-Blessing, observed on Transfiguration Day in the Orthodox calendar, is an early harvest festival.  In memory of children who have died young, people, especially women, traditionally must not eat new apples or other newly-ripe fruit before the blessing of apples; it is a traditional belief that deferring the eating of apples permits deceased children to receive apples from the Lord in heaven first.

The Apple-Blessing church service in the Polesian village of Azdamichy  is one of the parish’s most important moments in the cycle of the year.

Photo of the Day for August 16, 2010

August 15, 2010 9:00 pm

Apple-Blessing Festival (part I), Azdamichy 2009/Яблычны Спас (частка І), Аздамічы 2009 год

Apple-Blessing, observed on August 19 — Transfiguration Day in the Orthodox calendar — is an early harvest festival.  In memory of children who have died young, people, especially women, traditionally must not eat new apples or other newly-ripe fruit before the blessing of apples; it is a traditional belief that deferring the eating of apples permits deceased children to receive apples from the Lord in heaven first.

The Apple-Blessing church service in the Polesian village of Azdamichy is one of the parish’s most important celebrations in the cycle of the year.

Photos of the Day for August 15, 2010

August 14, 2010 9:00 pm

To mark the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary/З нагоды Ўнебаўзяцьця

Sapotskin 2009/Сапоцкін 2009 год

Probably under the influence of an Orthodox custom, the Assumption mass traditionally includes the blessing of a bouquet or basket of flowers.

Dzjatlava 2007/Дзятлава 2007 год

Photos of the Day for August 14, 2010: Sjarhej and Vol’ha

August 13, 2010 9:00 pm

Best wishes to Sjarhej and Vol’ha, to be married August 14 in Harodnja (Grodno) in western Belarus/Віншаваньні й найлепшыя пажаданьні Сяргею й Вользе, якія бяруць шлюб 14 жніўня ў Гародні.

Mjensk, July 2010/Менск, жнівень 2010 год

Photos of the Day for August 13, 2010

August 12, 2010 9:00 pm

August 14 is one of the clearest examples of syncretism, the overlapping or fusion of different traditions, in the Belarusian cycle of the year.

Orthodox Christians celebrate the date as Mjadovy Spas (Мядовы Спас), the Honey-Blessing Festival, or Makauje (Макаўе), the Maccabee Festival.  Makauje illustrates how the Church chose a similar-sounding name to absorb the pre-Christian practice of sprinkling poppy seeds (мак – “mak”) in the home and stables to ward off evil spirits.

These photos chronicle the Makauje celebration in 2001 in the southeastern Belarusian village of Rudnja Bartalamjejeuskaja, very near the Chernobyl Zone.   Deaths of some of the more elderly women since then have deprived the village of continuity with its ancient tradition and the celebration is reportedly no longer held there.  Here local women, lacking a priest, read from the liturgy and organize the washing of faces and eyes (for divine protection and insight) in water from the holy well.

Makauje, Rudnja Bartalamjejeuskaja 2001/Макаўе, Рудня Барталамееўская 2001 год

Photos of the Day for August 12, 2010

August 11, 2010 9:00 pm

August 14 is one of the clearest examples of syncretism, the overlapping or fusion of different traditions, in the Belarusian cycle of the year.

Traditionally August 14 (August 1 in the Julian or Orthodox calendar) is seen as a marker of the change from the weather of high summer as well as the beginning of the harvest season.  Orthodox Christians celebrate the date as Mjadovy Spas (Мядовы Спас), the Honey-Blessing Festival, or Makauje (Макаўе), the Maccabee Festival.  Makauje illustrates how the Church chose a similar-sounding name to absorb the pre-Christian practice of sprinkling poppy seeds (мак – “mak”) in the home and stables to ward off evil spirits.  Mjadovy Spas also marks the beginning of the two-week Orthodox fast before the celebration of the Dormition of the Blessed Virgin Mary (August 28 in the Gregorian calendar, 13 days after the analogous Roman Catholic celebration of the Assumption).

In a ceremony which combines pre-Christian and Orthodox rites, people gather on August 14 at holy wells to have mid-summer honey and water from the well blessed.

Honey-Blessing Festival (part I), Raduha 2009/Мядовы Спас (частка І), Радуга 2009 год