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For a poem by Adam Mickiewicz, see Dziady (poem).
Belarusian coin "Dziady", 20 rubles, revers

Dziady was an ancient Slavic feast to commemorate the dead. Literally, the word is translated as "Grandfathers". It was held twice every year (in the spring and autumn). During the feast the ancient Slavs organized libations and ritual meals. In local mythologies such feasts were organized both for the living and for the souls of the forefathers who joined the dziady after dark.

In Poland, the tradition prevailed in the form of Christian Zaduszki feast.[1]

In Belarus, Dziady (Дзяды) were usually held on the last Saturday before St. Dmitry's day, end of October/beginning of November (Dźmitreuskija dziady, St.Dmitry's Dziady). There were also 'Trinity Day Dziady, 'Shrovetide Dziady, and some other dates.

Lithuanians also have similar feast day, called Ilgės. It has roots in pagan times, and differs slightly from the Slavic Dziady.

Since 1988 the Belarusian Popular Front initiated the revival of the tradition in Belarus. In addition, this day a rally to Kurapaty is arranged, in the memory of the victims of Soviet political repressions. The initiative was met with strong opposition from the communist administration of the country. The tradition is still continued by the BPF and other movements in Belarus.[2][3]

The second part of the poetical novel Dziady by Adam Mickiewicz is dedicated mostly to the Dziady feast organized in what is now Belarus, and popular among Ruthenians and Lithuanians during the times of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.


  1. ^ About Zaduszki (Polish)
  2. ^ "On Dziady Day: To Kurapaty" Belarusian edition of Radio Liberty October 22, 2002 (Belarusian)
  3. ^ "Dziady. Kurapaty 1937-2007" (Belarusian)