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    The Belarusian House Foundation in Warsaw organized Christmas Eve for Belarusian children

    Last weekend, the Belarusian Home Foundation, Independent Belarusian Embassy in Warsaw organized Christmas Eve for Belarusian children.

    Children could watch the Belarusian ritual of visiting houses before Christmas with a dressed-up goat and a bear. Also, the organizers prepared the festive Batlejka* – a folk puppet theatre with a biblical theme; and sang Christmas carols.

    *Batlejka (Belarusian: Батле́йка, Batleyka) is a Belarusian amateur puppet theatre. Its name is derived from the city of Bethlehem and performances are traditionally given over the Christmas period. It became popular in Belarus in the 16th century but the peak of its popularity falls on the 18-19th centuries. It was largely forgotten during Soviet times but revived in present-day Belarus and within the Belarusian diaspora.

    On December 22, the Belarusian House will also hold a concert of Belarusian Christmas carols. The audience will have a chance to hear World-famous Christmas carols translated into Belarusian, accompanied by the gusle.*

    *The gusle consists of a wooden sound box, the maple being considered as the best material (therefore often the instrument is referred to as "gusle javorove" - maple gusle), covered with an animal skin and a neck with an intricately carved head. A bow is pulled over the string/s (made of horsetail), creating a dramatic and sharp sound, expressive and difficult to master. The string is made of thirty horsehairs.

    The concert will include such hits as “Jingle Bells”, “Merry Christmas” or “Silent Night”. The songs will be performed by Tatsiana Yacznaja and Aleś Chumakou who will play the gusle.

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