Ivan Kupala — traditions and customs of the pagan holiday
The holiday of Ivan Kupala, its customs and traditions from antiquity interested and pleased the Slavs. It arose before the baptism of Rus and was always distinguished by summer carelessness and fun. It is customary to celebrate it on the night of July 6-7 at the summer solstice.
The pagan rituals of this day were dedicated to cleansing with fire, washing with water, worshiping the sun, summer, and green mowing.
Fire, water and magic fern
In Ivana Kupala, it was not customary to sit at home at night. According to the tribute at that time, all the evil forces were coming out of the water: the devils, watermen, mermaids. In order to ward off evil spirits from himself, all honest people strove for water, to make big fires and to organize mass celebrations.
All believers had high hopes for this night. Girls dreamed of getting married successfully, young guys to gain man’s strength, health.
For this, it was important to swim in the pond, jump over the fire, find a flowering fern in the forest and collect magic herbs. All this was accompanied by songs, dances and laughter.
Healing by fire
The fire was kindled not only for the purpose of warming. There were round dances around him, singing songs and jumping over the flames to race.
The one who jumps higher and farther than anyone else, is surely waiting for happiness and success in all matters. For young couples jumping together, it was important to hold hands tight.
If the palms are opened, it means that the lovers will not be together, and their union will soon fall apart.
Adults passed through the fire with livestock — it was foreshadowed to save the house from negative energy, add strength and vigor to the owners. They believed that domestic cows, goats after such a ritual can give more milk and give birth to healthy offspring.
Young mothers tried to burn the clothes of a sick child that night. This gave hope for a speedy recovery of the offspring. Young guys set fire to wooden wheels from carts, barrels and let them into the river.
Rotating balls of fire personified the bright sun. Thus, people thanked heaven for warmth, good weather and a rich harvest.
Water — as a symbol of health
One of the brightest traditions of this day is bathing in reservoirs: rivers, lakes and ponds. It was believed that in Ivan Kupala all the devil leaves the water element, going ashore.
And the water is charged with incredible power. Men went swimming, believing that they would gain strength, courage, endurance and wisdom.
The water source promised to give young girls beauty, feminine charm and attractiveness. After such bathing, the young people waited for a quick marriage with their loved one.
After the baptism of Jesus Christ, the day of Ivan Kupal was timed to coincide with the birthday of John the Forerunner, who converted the faith of Christ on July 7th. Therefore, the holiday was converted to Christianity and is celebrated to this day.
Bathing in the waters was favorable until Ilyin’s day, which is celebrated on the second of August.
Morning dew is also able to improve the body and cleanse the soul. Young beauties tried to wash with dew drops at dawn, finding hope for a happy family life.
Those who wished a full life, in abundance and luxury, also tried to wash themselves with dew before the first rays of the sun.
It is noteworthy that at Ivana Kupala it was not accepted to be old men, pregnant women and children. These categories are most vulnerable and malleable.
To avoid trouble, they were not allowed on the holiday.
Wildflowers and herbs are especially revered on this night. They were collected, dried and used the next year, protecting the family from diseases and ailments. The most important plant of this Kupala night is fern, which can bloom for just a few seconds.
Young people rushed into the forest in the hope of finding a miracle flower. The lucky one who plucked a flowering fern was endowed with the ability to understand the language of animals and plants and the ability to find precious treasures.
Material well-being worried people at all times. One of the popular traditions of luring money was this.
Throw a handful of coins into the fire and utter a conspiracy: «Burn-burn fire-power, so that there is a lot of wealth, wealth is added and everything I managed.»
By tradition, the girls on the night of Ivan Kupala woven wreaths of odorous flowers. Each at this moment was a cherished desire.
Candles were put in a wreath and let out along the river. Whoever swam faster, expecting a quick marriage, if the candles are not extinguished — life will be full of bright and good moments.
The wreath is unraveled — you have to make an independent decision. This mainly concerned the marriage proposal.
The girl predicted to refuse the poor and lazy groom.
If a girl does not have the opportunity to go to the river, an ordinary basin with water and two daisies will be suitable for fortune-telling on the constricted. Usually two buds were dipped in water.
If you were swimming close by — being young together for many years, those that went apart, predicted a quick separation.
Ivan Kupala: what not to do on this day
Since this day all forest scum is reviving, people tried not to neglect the simple rules of protection:
- old people, pregnant women and babies were forbidden to attend folk festivals in order not to harm the weak body;
- walking alone in the woods at night;
- to lend money, clothes, or products threatened with losses and ruin;
- do not pick up a large find on the way, even if it is gold coins;
- do not sell homemade cakes, cattle from the yard and utensils.
By observing these rules, believers could count on the well-being and prosperity of the family.
Modern traditions of a swimming night
Many rituals are preserved and maintained to this day. Obligatory bathing, round dances by the fire, jumping through the flames in wreaths of fragrant herbs can give a mood and charge the vigor of the modern person for the next year.
The most important condition is to believe in the magical power of this night. On holiday it is not customary to wear precious jewelry, watches and use perfumery.
Clothing should be simple and light. For women, it can be a light dress, and men — a light shirt and pants. On this night, it is useful to flood the bath, steam and wash off bad thoughts and negative energy.
Most likely, they are trying to exorcise scum from their own souls, penetrating Russian legends and superstitions.
It was always believed that on this day water enters a sacred union with fire. Not being able to swim in the lake, a modern person can cleanse himself in a bath, but pre-light candles and collect dry herbs.
Guess today with the help of the tarot spread "Day map"!
For proper divination: focus on the subconscious and do not think about anything at least 1-2 minutes.