Ivan Kupala: the history of the holiday
Why the ancient Slavic deity could become one of the most popular in the modern world and how its magic affects people. As in one holiday several religions united.
Many fans of the famous holiday wondered who Ivan Kupala was, after whom over the centuries people gather for mystical and charming rituals.
How folk traditions mingle with Christianity
Researchers of traditions write that the roots of the event go back to the XII century. Even then, in the monuments of Old Russian writing, the deity Kupalo was mentioned. It symbolized fertility and procreation.
In order to earn the mercy of Kupala, people sang songs in his honor, jumped over the fire and performed many other related rituals.
Over time, the ceremony was transformed into a cult of the summer Solstice, mixing pagan traditions with Christian ones. At the same time, the deity Kupala (with the time the ending changed) received the name Ivan. It appeared after the adoption of Orthodoxy by Rus and the Day of Ivan Kupala on June 24 (according to the Julian calendar) and on July 7 (according to the Gregorian calendar) coincided with the holyday feast of the Nativity of John the Baptist.
Thus, folk customs are closely intertwined with Christian beliefs, complementing each other.
This holiday is celebrated not only the Russians. In Lithuania, Ivan Kupala is known as Lado, in Ukraine — as Kupaylo, and in Poland — Sobotki. It turns out that in the modern world there are many who want to join the ancient magic. And on the night of July 6, in honor of the Slavic deity, fires are lit along the banks of rivers, starting from the Carpathians.
It is followed by a Christian holiday — the day of Peter and Paul, which continues the summer carnival, which in olden times was filled with great meaning.
Sacral sense of holiday rituals
Before Ivan Kupala, on July 6, Agrafena Kupalnitsa walked, when everyone was obliged to wash in the baths. In addition to the hygienic purpose, there was also a sacred meaning. After all, the Slavs have many beliefs connected with the bath as a place of magical purification.
At Agrafen, the Bathing Suit was taken for a year for bath brooms, and the smart girls walked home with the words «Wash!». This meant that they needed to give some jewelry — beads, a ribbon, earrings, and so on.
From Ivan Kupala himself, the people expected incredible wealth sent by nature. Who wanted to get rid of the disease, went to such a holiday, where he first performed ablution in the river (according to tradition, the water gained healing power), and then burned old clothes in a fire and jumped high through it to get favorable energy from a burning flame. Until now, people resort to such a Slavic practice — and as a result, those who follow the rituals of Ivan Kupala get what they want.
Collection of medicinal herbs also applies to the legendary events of the day Ivanov. At night, they acquire wonderful properties and can fulfill a very wide range of wishes: predict fate, show the betrothed, bring back youth and beauty, and also open treasures hidden in the ground.
According to legends, a fern blooming in a “bathing night” in fiery color will indicate the place where the treasures are hidden. Russian chronicles say that the “grass of fern”, which grows in wet places, blooms at midnight and burns like fire. In the modern interpretation of the holiday, the search for a mystical fern has become one of the fascinating activities.
Especially if the couple is looking for a plant.
Water games are fun games. For example, one of the most common rituals is to spray all around with water, and it is with Ivan Kupala that leads his custom. It is believed that in this way people drenched in Kupala water will be successful and healthy.
The children must have played the burners. Noisy, funny and romantic ceremonies made the holiday one of the most beloved by the people. So it remains to this day. Good luck and don’t forget to press the buttons and