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Ukraine news: Ancient pagan festival of Ivan Kupala, dedicated to the day of the summer solstice – one of the main dates in the Slavic calendar, which is celebrated on the 7th of July.
The holiday of Ivan Kupala is more than two thousand years. Traditionally, the holiday is celebrated on the night of 6 to 7 July. This is probably the only surviving pagan is still a celebration which is almost not influenced by Christianity. This holiday is celebrated on the territory of Ukraine, as evidenced by Midsummer songs.
The night of Ivan Kupala is considered to be magical. Only in the Midsummer night the youth were allowed to misbehave, flirting with each other, kissing, hugging (to have intercourse) after Midsummer the guy had to marry the girl with whom he flirted .
According to legend, on this night, played the wedding Kupalo and Marena – it symbolized the Union of male and female, of two elements (bathed – embodiment of fire, madder – water).
How did the holiday
Bright folk holiday of Ivan Kupala takes its origins from paganism, although its origin is uncertain. Ivan Kupala, presumably, originated from pagan rituals of purification, ablution, which took place in rivers and lakes in the summer solstice.
The ancient Slavs Ivan Kupala was the festival of the Sun, the maturity of the summer mowing and green. Therefore, it was associated with the summer solstice, which by the old calendar fell on 20-22 June.
Traditions and rituals
The celebration, which is popularly called Midsummer night or Midsummer day, traditionally start to celebrate by nightfall — the people performed many rituals and rites associated with water, fire and herbs, and of course, wondered. By the way, many of these rites have survived to this day.
On the night of Midsummer, and the main tradition was the obligatory dip in the water, since ancient times, people believed that, from this day to Ilyin day (August 2, new style), all the evil spirits left the waters of lakes, rivers and reservoirs.
So the water on this night was considered a medicinal and possessed magical powers. Accordingly, it helped to be purified from all evil and heal and to acquire a good health.
Midsummer: what not to do (history and legends)
Generally the livestock on this day, a special attitude. Yes, it was forbidden on this day to beat the cow with a stick, and that udder will dry up (it was believed by the Hutsuls).
And not to get caught in the tenacious paws of perelesnik (mythical creature taking the form of loved one), it is impossible to raise the road things it is better to leave them in place.
It was impossible not to come to the Midsummer bonfire where they gathered the whole village. Women, who did not appear at the festival, considered witches.
Midsummer, it is desirable to celebrate near the river, the flowing water. The preparation for the feast begins at dawn. The boys mowed the grass in the meadow, which was expected of all the action, preparing firewood for a huge bonfire night, brought straw, which we had to steal (from her made stuffed Kupala).
Girls wove wreaths of blooming herbs – including wormwood, which is believed to wards off evil spirits. Some wreaths they wove for themselves, and one was a special, magical: creating it, the girl dreamed about the guy she likes, and wish to marry him. During the holiday she wanted to wear it to elect, and in the evening took to the water.
During the festival all had fun, sang, danced, arranged the feast: bring breads, pies, together brewed from grain (barley or wheat) cereal, fried eggs. Most likely, Midsummer consumed low-alcohol beer or home brew (vodka in the historical sources there is no mention).
According to legends at midnight, the fern blossoms. In nature, this plant does not bloom, but until today have preserved legends and tales about what is in this magic night the birth of true love, the merging of fire and water, a miracle happens – there is a flower of happiness, luck and prosperity. Flower looking for all, but find only in pairs, and can only see him truly in love. Midsummer in the struggle of fire and water wins water.