Add to favorite
 
123
Subscribe to our Newsletters Subscribe to our Newsletters Get Daily Updates RSS


Ivan Kupala Day: Looking for Fern Flower
July 8, 2008 16:34


Day of Ivan Kupala (aka John the Baptist, or Ivan the Herbalist) in the olden days was one of the most sacred, important and the most rackety festivities for the Russian people. All partook in the celebrations: they would gather herbs and flowers, twine wreaths, make bonfires, jump over them and play, bathe in rivers and lakes and perform divinations about one’s intended.

Ivan Kupala Day falls on 24 June, taking into consideration natural and historical factor of the summer solstice. However, many mark it on July 7, i.e. June 24 in the old style.

Ivan Kupala Day was one of the major pagan festivals of the Slavs. After conversion of Rus’ into Christianity it turned out that the old habitual holiday coincided with the nativity of John the Baptist. So the two holidays blended together, just as the name of the holiday came to combine both John (Ivan) the Baptist and the old pagan god Kupala, who the pre-Christian holiday was dedicated to.

Booking.com

According to an old belief, Ivan Kupala personifies the blossoming of powers of nature. The rites are based on worshipping water and the sun. From times immemorial it was customary to make ritual bonfires on banks of rivers and lakes on the Eve of Ivan Kupala.

 

Purifying bonfires were the major peculiarity of Kupala Eve. They danced around bonfires, of course, to the accompaniment of live music. Young folks would throw wreaths over the bonfires and jump over them. Those who jumped higher were believed to live happier in future. In some places peasants even made their cattle go through this fire to protect it from pestilence. Mothers burned their ill children’s underwear to make all illnesses burn down, too. The youth and kids after jumping over bonfires would arrange boisterous merry games and races with one another. Playing race and catch was invariable on this night. By an old pagan belief on Kupala Eve, which is the shortest night in the year, one should not sleep, since all evil spirits come alive and are quite active.

On the Eve of Ivan Kupala the youth would look for their intended ones and choose their destinies: girls launched wreaths with lit candles on water and boys were to catch them – whose wreath he gets, she will be his wife.

Explore Russia - Book Tours Here

 

On Ivan Kupala Day they bathed not only in water bodies but in dew as well. It was believed that Ivan’s dew helped against pimples, and if you sprinkled house walls and beds with it, then cockroaches and bedbugs would come to an end. On this day the Sun produces especially vivifying and animating impact on everything, folk beliefs say.

In the days of antiquity it was believed that Nativity of John the Baptist gave magic power to herbs and flowers and on the Eve of Ivan Kupala people gathered various plants, which they later brought to church for consecration, “to be used afterwards against evil suggestion of devilry”.

On this night people were looking for a fern’s flower – the one who is lucky to see it can make one’s innermost wish and it is bound to come true.

There is a number of folk weather sayings about this day, such as “On Ivan Day the Sun plays at sunrise”, “If there is rich dew on Ivan Day expect rich cucumber harvest”, “If the night is starry on the Eve of Ivan Day there will be lots of mushrooms”, “If it rains today then it will be sunny in five days”, etc.

Not only Russian people celebrates Ivan Kupala Day. In Lithuania it is known as Lado, in Poland as Sobotki, and in Ukraine as Kupalo or Kupailo. From the Carpathians and all around Russia people celebrated this mystical and enigmatic, though rackety and merry holiday of Ivan Kupala.

 

READ MORE ABOUT RUSSIAN TRADITIONS...

Sources:
    art-gid.ru
    svadbavrn.info
    Russian Wiki

 


Tags: Russian Customs Old Russian Beliefs Russian Folklore Russian Holidays Slavs 

Next Previous

You might also find interesting:

Ivan Kupala Day: Looking for Fern Flower National Russian Dress: Outerwear Russian Easter Recipes Lot of Banned Slavic Idols National Russian Dress





Related links
Maslenitsa, the Holiday of Spring and Sun ( 4.03.2008 13:54)
Russian Holidays (25.12.2006 18:02)




Comment on our site


RSS   twitter   facebook   submit

Bookmark and Share

search on the map
TAGS:
White Stone Architecture  travel to Russia  Must See Places  Gostinyi dvor  State Duma  Organ Music Concerts  Russian education  Astrakhan  Russian regions  Russian students  Krasnoyarsk  Nobel laureates  Exhibitions in Moscow  Bolshoi Theatre  Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia  Tyumen  Russian oil and gas industry   The Moscow Region  Lubok  Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts  Nalchik  Bezhetsk  Book Tickets for Ballet  Russian Classics  Russian tourism  Festivals in Moscow  Russian courts  Moscow  Russian futurists  Election 2012  Russian Cinema  Tatarstan  Kamchatka  Russian directors  Igor Grabar  St. Petersburg  Woodwork  Russian musicians  Vologda region  international reserves  Russian circus  Historical Background  Bitcoin  Komi Republic  virtual office St. Petersburg  Bryansk  Russian business  Hippotherapy  Russian culture  Sergius of Radonezh 


Travel Blogs
Top Traveling Sites