When Ivana Kupala 2023 in Ukraine

According to the new calendar, Ivan Kupala falls on July 7 every year. In 2023, it will be Friday. The celebration is traditionally held in the evening.

How to celebrate Ivan Kupala

Even in ancient times, the July night was considered filled with special energy and mysticism. In pre-Christian times, it was considered the summer solstice, when the shortest night came. With the advent of Christianity, everything changed dramatically. On July 7, the Church celebrates the feast of the Nativity of John the Baptist, so the day of Ivan Kupala was dedicated to this important event. The name comes from the word "bathe." Although in pre-Christian times she was associated with the pagan god of flowers Kupala.

Ivana Kupala: history of the holiday

Ivana Kupala: history of the holiday / Photo: pixabay.com

The history of this holiday began long before the arrival of Christianity on the territory of modern Ukraine. Our ancestors liked to gather at various gatherings for ceremonies during the summer solstice. Usually it was dedicated to the sun god Yarila. These days, water was given special power. They believed that if you plunge into a pond, you can be cleansed of all evil. Jumping over fires purified the body and soul in the same way.

In early July, people already had free time to start harvesting the first harvest, medicinal herbs, flowers, berries. When Christianity came to Ukrainian lands, they decided to leave some traditions to make it easier for people to switch to a new faith. Only the ritual part was timed to John the Baptist, who became a symbol of purification. After all, it was he who baptized Jesus Christ.

Traditions and rituals

Of course, on such an important holiday, our ancestors could not do without rituals. According to popular beliefs, on this day they necessarily went to the reservoir, bathed there to cleanse themselves of evil, gain strength and improve their health. But on the night of July 7, it was forbidden to go into the water, because mermaids can pull to the bottom. The ceremonial tree of the day was considered a willow, which was called Marena. The girls decorated this tree with flowers, colorful ribbons. The main attribute of the evening was considered a bonfire. They usually laid it out in front of a tree.

Jumping over fires was considered cleansing. Also, young couples jumped through the flames, holding hands. It was believed that if you did not let each other go, then you would get married soon. The peasants even drove cattle through the fire so that they gave more milk and did not get sick. If a baby was sick in the family, his shirt was burned in the fire. They believed that then the child would recover.

Divination of girls was another constant attribute of Ivan Kupala. Young and unmarried traditionally performed a ceremony on the groom. To do this, they wove wreaths of flowers, plants, greenery, put small candles inside, lit them and let them go for water. The wreath had to be nailed to the shore. It was believed from which side he would do it, from that the groom would come. If the wreath went to the bottom or stopped, then the girl still walked in girls all year round.

The young men were looking for a rare flower on the night of July 7 - fern blossom. There was a belief that she appears only once a year and at night. Anyone who finds fern blossoms will be able to cure any diseases and understand the language of animals and birds.

On the holiday of Ivan Kupala, traditional dishes were prepared: kvass, porridge, sweet dumplings. Kasha was treated to beggars, and only then they ate themselves. All this was done to attract well-being and happiness.

What they do on Ivan Kupala and what not to do

What they do on Ivan Kupala / Photo: pixabay.com

There was a popular belief that on the night of July 7 it was forbidden to sleep, because evil spirits crawled out of their corners and could come to you in a dream. Pregnant women and children were not allowed to swim in the water because mermaids could take their lives. The boys also had to be careful. If a beautiful girl came out of the water, she could turn out to be a mermaid.

On Ivan Kupala, healing herbs and medicinal flowers were necessarily torn. And at dawn they burned the effigy of Kupayla.

To protect their home from evil spirits and evil forces, twigs or pegs from wasps were laid out in front of the house, and a head of garlic was placed on the windowsill.

Is it possible to sew on Ivan Kupala? On any religious or pre-Christian holiday, needlework was forbidden. Therefore, it is not advisable to sew, embroider and knit on this day. It is also forbidden to carry out any manipulations with hair. And it is better to postpone work around the house or in the garden to another day.

Read also:

  • When to Baptize a Child in 2023: Dates Best for Administering the Sacrament