June 21 marks the summer solstice and it is the longest day of the year, and at night - Kupala Night - a night of dancing, burning fires and entertainment! Kupala Night is a Slavic holiday associated with the summer solstice of the Sun, celebrated during the shortest night of the year. In the south of Poland, Podkarpacie and Silesia is called bonfire or bonfires, in Warmia and Mazury Palinock. The name Kupala Night, Kupalnock, has been preserved in the tradition of Mazovia and Podlasie. Kupalnock is devoted above all to the elements of water and fire, having purifying power. It is also a celebration sun and moon, fertility, joy and love. Kupala night was connected with various Slavic rites. The Slavs organized it in honor of Kupala, the goddess of love and healing plants, and also the patron of wise women. It was to ensure prosperity and abundance of harvest, good weather, as well as success in love. The ceremonies must have started at a campfire on the banks of the river or at the top of the hill. The celebration was full of dancing, singing and courtship that lasted until morning.
Throwing Wreaths On the Water
The most popular habits of the night include throwing wreaths on water. It is a divination for the ladies and bachelors who are waiting for love. The wreath should be thrown into the river, not into the lake, so that some bachelor will catch it, otherwise the owner will not experience love for a year. If the boy does not pick up any wreath, he will have to be alone until next year.
Finding a Fern Flower
The second custom of Kupala Night is to look for a fern flower, also known as a perun flower, a sign of great happiness, wisdom, and the ability to see all the treasures hidden in the earth. It blooms once a year and it is very hard to find it. According to the divination, the person who seeks it must be very brave and right. It guarantees happiness, wealth and the ability to influence the feelings of others. The young people were going to the forest to look for a mythical flower of ferns, at dawn they returned to the still burning fires to graze with a sagebrush, jump over the flames of the fire holding their hands. The jump on this one day of the year was a symbolic ritual of marriage.
A Bouquet of Herbs On the Door of the House
The third very popular custom is hanging the bouquet of herbs on the door. It should consist of seven magical plants: mugwort, sundew, sage, burdock, rue, mullein and St. John's wort. It is supposed to deter evil spirits, protect against illness and guarantee good marriage.