23 The last weekend of January, this year – as it has been for 23 years – caused real fuss in Terespol. Why? This is thanks to the International Festival of East Slavic Carols taking place on 27 and 28 January 2018.
Yes, on the last weekend of January a lot of different events took place in Terespol. The real center of events at that time was the local Center of culture, “besieged” directly by enthusiasts of Christmas caroling. Cars, coaches, buses were parked in front of the building and numerous guests arrived. During two days of auditions, nearly 600 carolers performed on stage, and around 1000 people sat among the audience. – so a total of nearly 2000 people participated in the XXIII International Festival of East Slavic Carols. It’s a great turnout and regulars are noticing that they’re getting bigger every year.
We do not know exactly how much the number of inhabitants of this border town in South Podlasie has increased during this time, but certainly the ethnic, religious and national diversity of the Terespol community has jumped by several hundred percent.
In the 13th edition of MFKW participated 26 choirs from Poland, Belarus and Ukraine – each country was represented almost equally. Every day of auditions we could hear and see 13 choirs and carol bands each.
Similarly, generations were equally represented, because on the Terespol stage both the youngest – even 5-year-olds artists, young people, adults and seniors – were represented. It could not be otherwise, as equality and also diversity – are the pillars of the International Festival of East Slavic Carols. The festival – intentionally – does not have a formula for the competition. It is a meeting, during which the partnership is performed side by side amateurs and professionals, parish choirs, rural and urban, carol bands, authentic, small and large, accompanied by instruments and absolutely a capella. One thing unites them: the joy of Christmas caroling. And this joy was carried by the inhabitants of the closer and further corners of Poland and its neighbors. Each in their own right authentic form.
This joy during the XXIII MFKW felt indisputable, and it was from the first moments of the Festival. It also emphasized the invaluable value of cooperation and partnerships by representatives of the Lublin-Chelm Orthodox Diocese, the Foundation “Dialogue of Nations”, the Municipal Cultural Centre in Terespol, as well as the Nadbuzanski Center for Orthodox Culture.
And yet the XXIII edition of Terespol caroling was slightly different from the previous ones: it was accompanied – organized for the first time in the history of the Festival – by a charity event. The organizers raised money for a 14-year-old, terminally ill resident of Terespol – Kacper Wojciak. Each donator, in reward, received a commemorative festival star.
Guests of the Festival could also see two highly interesting photographic exhibitions:
- “The way of life”, “Folk towels of the Bielsk Land” – by Alina Debowska and Katarzyna and Jerzy Solub – manager and staff of the Museum in Bielsk Podlaski, Branch of the Podlaski Museum in Bialystok”
- “Sacred Corners of Podlasie” – initiative of the Orthnet.pl Association, by Tomasz Poskrobko and Tomasz Grzes.
XXIII International Festival of East Slavic Carols is behind us. It remains a wonderful memory, which further prolongs the beautiful, atmospheric photographs by Tomasz Grzes. It remains after the Festival also aware that in a year’s time, on the last weekend of January we will meet again. Welcome!