The magic holiday is the day of Ivan Kupala
Mysterious and mystical, the day of Ivan Kupala goes back to ancient times. Very few people know about him today. Researchers believe that the holiday typical of most pagan beliefs in Europe in the middle of summer (the analogue of which is the day of Ivan Kupala) is one of the oldest religious cults on Earth. At the heart of this cult is the age-old opposition and attraction of two opposite beginnings that do not have the possibility of uniting into one, but also not existing without each other. So, heaven and earth, fire and water, man and woman are indivisible and incompatible. This love, this attraction of opposites and are the basis of the ancient holiday.
The ancients revered Kupala - a kind and generous god who patronized the fertility of the earth and procreation, giving refreshing rains, bringing a loving confusion to the most chaste hearts.
Initially, this day, like many other holidays of the ancient Slavs, had cosmic significance. The Kupala night was celebrated on June 25, during the summer solstice. The night was the shortest in the year and was considered special.
The ancient Slavs believed that in the Kupala night the line between the apparent (real) and the (mystical) worlds is thinning, and all the dark gods and spirits could penetrate into the world of people. This night medicinal herbs gained a great healing power, intoxicating wines more intoxicating than usual, but most importantly - a magical mountain flower - a fern flower, opening secrets, giving wisdom and leading to unearthly treasures of the one who will manage to get it, blossomed. The search for this flower was paid special attention during the celebration.
But the main event of the Kupala night is a wedding. In the role of the newlyweds are Lelia and Yarilo, young lovers who are not destined to be together, because they come to each other brother and sister. The girls chose a low birch or willow and dressed it up as a "bride", adorned with motley ribbons, while the boys at that time were making a straw "groom". The wedding ceremony was accompanied by traditional rehearsals and dances, just as the wedding itself took place.
Believing in the power of fire and water, after sunset, the ancient Slavs jumped through the cleansing bathing fire, and at dawn they washed themselves with dew and swam in the rivers. It was believed that clothing in which a person jumped over a fire and bathed, becomes obezhna and acquires the ability to protect its owner from bad eyes and ailments. Another part, connected with water, is the launching of wreaths on the water. On these wreaths floating in the dark unmarried girls guessed about the further fate.
Unfortunately, information about possible specific dishes of this holiday was not preserved. But we can confidently assume that according to the Slavic hospitable tradition, the food was plentiful and generous. And on this day they started drinking surya - a ritual Slavic drink, which was prepared from honey and herbs, and then for several months insisted on the sheep's wadkins buried in the ground.
With the advent of Christianity in Russia, like many other pagan traditions, this holiday was banned, but not forgotten. For many centuries young people gathered in glades near water reservoirs, sang songs and burned fires, praising the good God Kupala and asking him about the crop and the offspring.
However, along with the ancient gods, in Russia were worshiped and Orthodox saints. And the Kupala night, like other holidays, soon acquired church features. And Kupala himself received the name Ivan - in honor of the Orthodox St. John the Baptist. So the name of the holiday appeared, widely spread today - the day of Ivan Kupala. However, the original date of it was transferred to July 7. This is due not only to overlapping pagan and Orthodox cults, but also with the transition of Russia to the Julian calendar.
The night before Ivan Kupala, as in ancient times, is considered magical. It is at this time that miracles occur. Like many centuries ago, today's youth meets Ivan Kupala's day, welcoming warm summer with cheerful songs about love, prosperity and a rich harvest, and lovers, wishing to keep their feelings forever, jump through the campfire bonfires, as did their distant ancestors.