Men wearing costumes of Ded Moroz (Grandfather Frost), the Santa Claus in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine, and women wearing costumes of Snegurochka (Snow Maiden), the traditional companion of Ded Moroz, smile during their parade in Minsk on Dec. 25, 2013.
Belarussians celebrate the pagan rite called "Kolyadki" in the village of Lobcha, about 143 miles south of Minsk. Kolyada is a pagan winter holiday, which over the centuries has merged with Orthodox Christmas celebrations in Ukraine and some parts of Belarus.
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Kupala Night is celebrated in Ukraine, Belarus, Poland and Russia on the night of 6/7 July. The celebration relates to the summer solstice when nights are the shortest and includes a number of Pagan rituals. The holiday was originally Kupala - a pagan fertility rite later accepted into the Orthodox Christian calendar. Due to the popularity of the pagan celebration with time it was simply accepted and reestablished as one of the native Christian traditions intertwined with local…