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Searching happiness on Kupala Night: Traditions and customs of the holiday

Author : 112.ua News Agency

Source : 112 Ukraine

It is one of the most mysterious and magical holidays, inherited from our ancestors. We tell you what is interesting about Kupala Night holiday
12:56, 6 July 2020

Kupala Night
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Kupala Night is celebrated in Ukraine on the night of July 6-7. It is known for its traditions – swimming, jumping over fire, divination and searches for a blooming fern. However, the holiday itself is not limited to this.

Ivan Kupala is an ancient holiday. After many centuries, it remains all the same popular and one of the most extraordinary ones, moreover, known for its original traditions and rites. We will tell you more about them and the holiday in general.

How is Kupala Night celebrated?

There are two dates of Kupala Night. According to the old style, it was celebrated (and, by the way, many still continue to celebrate) during the summer solstice on June 20-22. It was a time of pagan celebration.

Since the appearance of Christianity, Ukraine and other countries celebrating Kupala Night changed the date of celebration. According to the new style, this is the night from July 6 to July 7. Thus, Kupala Night coincides with one of the most famous Orthodox holidays - the Nativity of John the Baptist.

Presumably, Kupala Night comes from pagan rituals of purification, lavation, which were performed in rivers and lakes on the day of the summer solstice.

What you should not do Kupala Night?

It is believed that various evil spirits wake up on Ivana Kupala - witches, snakes, water sprites, mermaids, werewolves. Therefore, you cannot sleep on this night.

In addition, during this period it is not customary to give, sell and borrow anything otherwise the family could become impoverished.

What rites and beliefs of the Kupala Night?

The key symbols of Ivana Kupala are water, fire and herbs.

Mandatory is swimming at the sunrise. It is believed that in this way a person undergoes a cleansing procedure - washes away diseases and strengthens immunity. Swimming took place in various places: someone was washing in the rivers; someone was preparing a bathhouse for this.

Then the turn of fire came. Bonfires were lit on hills or near the rivers. Sometimes fire was produced in an ancient way - by the friction of wooden sticks against each other. Bonfires were lit in the late evening and often burned until morning.  

Interestingly, all the women of the village must have gone out to the fire. A woman that did not appear could be suspected of witchcraft.

People were dancing around the fires, but its purpose is in not just this. People also jumped over the fire: both boys and girls, and couples who held hands. It was believed that if young people could jump over a bonfire without letting go of each other’s hands, then they were destined to be together. If they let go, it meant that the couple would soon break up.

Fortune telling was and remains another important attribute of the holiday. The girls tried to find out who their destined ones are. They made wreaths of 12 different types of plants, and then let them flow in the water. If the wreath drowns, the girl will not marry this year, if it sailed from the shore - the wedding is already close.

On Kupala Night, the girls went to the forest to collect medicinal herbs and flowers, which, according to beliefs, were especially powerful during this period.

And, of course, the fern hunt officially starts. Find it if you can.

There is a belief that only once a year, fern blooms on Kupala Night. The mythical flower that does not exist in nature supposedly gives supernatural powers and possibilities to those who find it and rip it off. In particular, the owner of the flower becomes farseeing, gets the opportunity to understand the language of animals, see all the treasures, become invisible, can take on any guise, and also unlocks treasuries by attaching a flower to them.

In general, Kupala Night is a very special and original holiday.

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Система Orphus

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