Folk Crafts Festival on Trinity

Folk Crafts Festival on Trinity

Every year, on Trinity, Suzdal hosts the Folk Crafts Festival on the territory of the Museum of Wooden Architecture. You couldn’t ask for a better place to hold such a colorful mass celebration! Trinity is an ancient orthodoxy holiday, which has deep folk roots.

Trinity Day was usually celebrated at the end of spring or at the beginning of summer, when nature was filled with strength and freshness. People decorated their houses with birch branches and brought gifts in the name of fertility of the soil and favorable weather. The beginning of summer was the spell when fields and vegetable gardens had been already planted, but it was too early to gather harvest. That is why peasants had some spare time for mass festivals, games and fortune-telling.

Trinity Day was celebrated noisily and merrily in the open air. Peasants performed round dances, made bonfires, sang songs and invented games. On this day young people were engaged in fortune-telling, they were weaving wreaths of herbs or birch branches, letting them down the river, trying to find out their fate for the next year, and, possibly, to determine their soul mate. In some areas, craft fairs were held on Trinity.

Employees of the Vladimir-Suzdal Museum-Reserve are trying to preserve the traditions of their ancestors, organizing a craft fair at the Museum of Wooden Architecture in a big way. Potters and embroiderers, blacksmiths and woodcarvers, weavers and artists come to Suzdal from all over the Vladimir region and from neighboring regions. A huge number of tourists and residents of the Vladimir region also come here to get acquainted with the ancient crafts and to see the process of creating works of folk art with their own eyes. They have a chance to see how a beautiful jug is being made from a shapeless piece of clay, and an openwork lace is being woven from dozens of bobbin threads ... Guests can make a clay pot, weave a rod souvenir or make a "twist" doll with their own hands. At the master classes artisans share their skills and secrets with visitors. Here you can purchase unique items created by real craftsmen.  

The best folklore groups of Vladimir land perform on the lawns, among the old peasant huts of the Museum of Wooden Architecture. At the festival not only   adults but also children have fun. They are attracted by the performance of the puppet theatre, folk games and Trinity swing.

The most spectacular moment of the Trinity festival in Suzdal is a unique female rite, which originated in the Vladimir province (Yuryev-Polsky district). It is called "driving of a spikelet". Smart girls are standing in two lines holding each other’s hands.  A little girl walks along the "bridge", woven from their hands.  When the procession reaches a rye field, the little girl picks up a spikelet, runs in the direction of the church and throws the spikelet down. Many centuries ago, peasants believed that such rite, performed on the Trinity, could help them to get a rich harvest. Today, the ritual called "driving of a spikelet" is included in the unified register of intangible cultural heritage of the Vladimir region.

The main point of the Trinity festival is the glorification of the birch: the trees are decorated and praised in songs. At the end, the participants "see a birch off". They walk from the Museum of Wooden Architecture to the Kamenka River and lower the branches into the water.

Author: V. Korolkova