Polish Noc Świętojańska or Sobótka Russian, Belarusian Купала may mean the traditional fest or the god. Kupała and Купала have the same 'letter to letter' sense and pronunciation is just written in different alphabets.


Ivan Kupala Day ("John the bather day") is the feast day of John the Baptist in some Central and East European countries, held near the summer solstice. It is equivalent of Valentine's Day.

For some neo-pagans, Kupała, also known as Sobótka, is the festival celebrated on the Summer solstice in June. They believe that it was a sacred holy day honoring the two most important elements: Fire and Water. The tradition is to burn fires at the end of the day and bathe in open waters at sunset, singing and dancing around 'pal' till midnight. At midnight, under the pretext of searching for "the flower of the Fern," unmarried men and women run into the forest. Ladies with a crown of flowers on their head (Polish: "wianek"), a symbol of their unmarried state, go first, singing. Next they are followed by single men. If you find the "flower of the Fern" the wishes of life may be fulfilled. However, nobody found it so far, but they lived happily together. The lucky man would return with a flower ring on his head, with the now engaged lady.

Jan Kochanowski, a Polish poet who happened to participate in the festivities, gives a description of the night in his Pieśń o Sobótce, Jan Kochanowski, Quote: :Gdy słońce Raka zagrzewa, :A słowik więcej nie śpiewa, :Sobótkę, jako czas niesie, :Zapalono w Czarnym Lesie url: [http://staropolska.gimnazjum.com.pl/renesans/jan_kochanowski/piesn_o_sobotce.html] ]

The younger girls all, dressed in white, float her flowers (with candles) on the rivers, the sign, somebody may discover and come next year to her to exchange the dray flowers for flourishing wianek of her.

The "pal en:pole" all dances around is a symbol of tree of life and "kupala" older "ką pala" or now "ku palu" mean "to pole", "in the direction of pole". The taking bath in water is "kąpele" . The way of singing without accompaniment is "a kapella". The tradition of Kupala may have old IE origin. Kochanowski relation of the folk song highlight it few times::"Tak to matki nam podały, | Our mothers gave it to us:"Samy także z drugich miały | They also from their mothers inherited it

:"A teraz ten wieczór sławny:"Święćmy jako zwyczaj dawny"

In other verses is described the pra old character of this fest. And the tradition especially watering the flowers rings continue today the youngest keep best the tradition.


In his book Deutsche Mythologie (1835), Jacob Grimm noted that Russians used the word "kupala" to describe the bonfires they lit at the summer solstice, and recorded that some people explained the word as the name "Kupulo", a harvest god. [Jacob Grimm, "Teutonic Mythology", trans. James Steven Stallybras, p.624.]

In Slavonic neo-paganism, Kupała is the goddess of herbs, sorcery, sex, and midsummer. She is also the Water Mother, associated with trees, herbs, and flowers. Her celebration falls upon the Summer solstice in June, which is a sacred holy day honoring the two most important elements of Fire and Water.


See also: Ivan Kupala (Ukraine)

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