I love this picture. Traditional head dress from Belarus.
This head dress, belongs to the so called “David Gorodok-Turov” style – a complex of traditional Belarusian folk costumes of the Polesye.
The area where we find this style of traditional folk dress lies along the Pripyat River, which flows east through Ukraine, then through Belarus parallel to Ukraine border, and then Ukraine again, draining into the Dnieper.
Along the river lie the Pinsk Marshes, a vast natural region of wetlands along the forested basin of the Pripyat River and its tributaries from Brest to the west to Mogilev to the northeast and Kiev to the southeast. It is one of the largest wetland areas of Europe.
Now here is something very very interesting indeed. My friend Sima Kosminski sent me a link to this article, which contains an interview with a couple from Lelikov near Kobrin in Polesye.
They are Peter and Anastasia Shapetsyuki – known collectors of local folklore.
Like other people in Polesye, who wear this “David Gorodok-Turov” style of traditional folk costume, they apparently speak their own unique dialect which is different from the dialects of the neighboring population. And they have a very interesting legend that explains why their language is different:
“Serb tribes were great enemies of the Romans. Finally a Roman emperor got really angry and sent an army to attack them. The Serbs were driven out of their homeland and came and settled down here, in the Pinsk Marshes, in Polesye…”
Now what Serbs and what Romans is this legend talking about? Balkan Serbs and Romans? Or Baltic Sorbs and Holy Roman Empire? Both groups of Serbian tribes were indeed great enemies of their “Romans” and waged centuries long wars against invading “Romans”. So both are very good candidates to be “the Serbs” from the legend.
What is interesting, judging by this map from Eupedia, it seems that genetically Polesyans are definitively linked to Balkan Serbs:
What do you think?
This is a very very interesting development, don’t you think so?
Does anyone have any additional information about this legend or about Polesye culture and language?