SEPTEMBER 1, KNOWLEDGE DAY, IN BELARUS
In Belarus, a new school year begins on the 1st of September. It opens with a celebratory assembly called Lineika: school children line up on the school quadrangle to listen to the welcome address by the headmaster, engage in some rituals and watch a short performance.
It's a holiday for a great number of people: school children and their parents, tertiary students, teachers and all others, as it echoes in hearts of everybody. It is a special holiday, it is not about fun and merrymaking, but about getting ready to make a good start, or to turn a new leaf in your life, or preparing for a successful finish. Schools usually try to make the event memorable, so teachers start working in August to prepare a program. Parents also are in rush to buy stationery and new school clothing, as kids usually return from holidays one or two sizes bigger.
The Lineika usually opens with students and parents standing along the perimeter of the quadrangle. A couple of senior students pronounces a short introductory greeting and invite 11th graders to lead firstgraders in the quadrangle.
Music starts playing. The students from other grades and the parents welcome the firstgraders led by 11th graders to the Lineika.
The 11th graders and first graders line up in the center of the quadrangle.
The senior students are holding balloons and books about Belarus, which they will later give to the firstgrades.
Afther everybody is ready, the ceremony of running up a national flag and performing the national anthem starts. It is an honor for a student to be chosen to run up the flag. Usually it is offered to the top student or another achiever.
Then Principal of the school and some V.I.P. guests, such as war veterans or celebrities, pronounce their welcome addresses and wish school children and teachers a successful year.
The school usually tries to make the event memorable and engaging. The speeches by adults are not long, and students' performances follow. These fairies play with the firstgraders, ask them funny questions and riddles and also give them advice how to succeed.
Some other talented children also sing, dance or recite funny poems about school.
All children come to school dressed up in white and black (girls with beautiful white bows) and with a bouquet to give to their teacher. Now it is time to show appreciation, and 11th graders are bringing flowers to the teachers and administration of the school.
The highlight of the Knowledge Day celebratory assembly is the First Bell ceremony.
This ceremony closes the event, and senior students take the first graders by hand and lead them into the school building to make the kids feel welcome and to know that they have big friends at school, just in case...
Celebration of Knowledge Day and the frist day at school is a long tradition. It unites generations: the parents and grandparents all went through it and it is moving to watch the little kids making their first steps into the world of learning. Good luck everybody, students and teachers!
And how to you mark the beginning of a school year? Do you remember your first day at school?
Or maybe you have photo of yourself or your parents from doznes of years ago?
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