Annual Events in Minsk
As the capital and largest city in Belarus, Minsk has plenty to offer art lovers, music buffs, and lovers of the cinema. Arts festivals are growing all the time, but its the religious, folk, and national holidays that are biggest with Minsk residents. Check out our annual events listings below or see what's on right now over at our regularly updated events calendar.
New Year Celebrations
Fireworks and concerts welcome the new year across the city, particularly at the Minsk National Library and the Hero City Monument.
The vast majority of Belarusians celebrate Christmas according to Eastern Orthodox traditions, meaning that Christmas celebrations peak not at the end of December but after the new year on 7 January.
This tradition, common across eastern and Russian lands, has pagan roots and was a time for waking mother earth from her winterly slumber. Similar to other international festivities such as Mardi Gras or Shrove Tuesday, Maslenitsa takes place during the last week before Lent as is a time for feasting on eggs and butter - and that usually means pancakes!
With the discontinuation of the Minsk Blues festival, Minsk Jazz is the central jazz event for lovers of the genre as is organized annually by the National Academy Concert Orchestra of Belarus. The three-day festival covers many different styles of the genre, previously honouring jazz artists from Lithuania as "Jazz Musicians of the Year".
International Women's Day
Women's Day (8 March) dates back to Soviet times, as a day to mark women's economic, social, and political achievements. Today in Belarus, this holiday is more popular than St.Valentine's day when it comes to flower-buying and romantic gestures. As an added bonus, Belarus is one of the few countries where Women's Day is a public holiday, so there's no excuse in finding time for your female loved ones.
Minsk Spring International Music Festival
Taking place at the Belarusian State Philharmonic each March, the Minsk Spring is one of the largest classical music festivals of the year. Inviting international soloists to its three halls, the Philharmonic performs music from a wide variety of composers.
Tens of thousands of soldiers and hundreds of military vehicles ride through the streets of Minsk in a truly awe-inspiring display of military pride on Victory Day (9 May), marking the capitulation of Nazi Germany to Soviet Russia.
This huge indoor dance party takes place every year in the Minsk Arena, inviting international starts like The Prodigy, Sasha, and Westbam to perform to tens of thousands of party kids from across the region.
Marking the summer solstice, Kupalle is a midsummer's holiday with distinct pagan roots complete with garland weaving and bonfire jumping. Of course, the best place to experience this folk holiday is in the Belarusian countryside, so make sure to spend a few days outside of this city during this colourful celebration.
Minsk City Day
Crowds head to the streets on Minsk City Day with free performances abound and a fireworks to display to finish things off. One of the biggest public celebrations of the year. (Early September)
Listapad International Film Festival
As the biggest film festival in Belarus, Listapad celebrates cinematic achievements by filmmakers from Belarus and other countries in the region, as well as many entries from international filmmakers. Read more at our Listapad Festival page.
Belarusian Musical Autumn
Along with Minsk Spring, the Musical Autumn is a series of concerts organized at the Belarusian State Philharmonic covering a wide variety of classical and jazz music featuring soloists and groups from across the world.
Parade of Grandfathers Frost and Snow Maidens
The Belarusian equivalent of Santa Claus, St. Nick, or Father Christmas, is joined by his wintery female companions for this costumed gala through the streets of Minsk. The parade usually starts at the Sports Palace and heads to Oktyabrskaya Square along Podeditelei Avenue. Christmas Day (25 December - morning).
Christmas Religious Education Fair
The Exhibition Hall on 14 Pobeditelei Ave. is the usual spot for this fair selling gifts, holy items, books, and more. Exact dates vary but the fair usually starts a few days after (Catholic) Christmas at the end of December and goes until approximately 5 January (closed on 1 January).