Midsummer's Day, or Ivan Kupala's Day, is one of the most important pagan Slavic holidays. It was celebrated on the summer solstice. With the emergence of Christianity in Russia, it was associated with the day of the birth of John the Baptist.
Ivan Kupala Day: pagan rites
Every year on the night from 6 to 7 July in Russia to this day they celebrate Midsummer's Day, or the so-called Ivan Kupala. In some European countries (for example, in Finland) this day is celebrated according to the old style, during the summer solstice - from 23 to 24 June.
Such a holiday contains many shades of paganism and ancient mysterious customs. It is filled with many mystical elements and enchanting magic.
In ancient times, the pagan Slavs performed various rituals, of which there were a lot. The peculiarity of some rituals was that they had to be performed only on the night before Ivanov's day. And this is no coincidence. It was during this period, as it was believed, that water acquires mystical properties and helps to get rid of many diseases.
Therefore, bathing was the main ritual that every person had to perform. In the absence of a lake or river, the pagans flooded their baths and began to steam. It was with the help of steam that they were freed from ailments.
The pagans were very fond of jumping over the fire on Midsummer's Day. They believed that the higher they jump over it, the happier life will be.
Fire also has mystical properties. The Slavs kindled a fire on the shore of a lake or river and began to lead round dances around it. Thus, they freed themselves from diseases and evil spirits that had accumulated in them.
Young couples had a special belief: if a girl and a guy can jump over the fire without opening their hands, their marriage will be very strong.
Mothers also did not stand aside. They brought the old clothes of their sick children and burned them. Thus, mothers freed their child from physical and mental illnesses and ailments. The peculiarity of this night is that at this time in no case can you fall asleep. The fact is that it is on the night of Midsummer's Day that goblin, mermaids, witches and other evil spirits become active, which can overcome a sleeping person, bring him pain and suffering.
Fortune telling on the day of Ivan Kupala
In the distant past, fortune-telling was the favorite pastime of young girls. As a rule, they used a woven wreath for this. They put him on the surface of the water and let him float freely. If he swam well, it was believed that life would be happy. If the wreath is drowned, life will be less successful and it will be difficult to get married.
The Ivan Kupala holiday was a kind of Slavic carnival. On this day, it was allowed to do a lot, dropping the boundaries of decency. Even the strict morality of Christianity could not change the traditions of Midsummer's Day. It is not for nothing that Ivan Kupala is also popularly called Ivan Walking.