Kupala Night: an ancient celebration in Belarus

Anano Chikhradze | Live the World

November 23, 2022

Each country has its unique celebrations and traditions, which makes traveling more interesting. This time, I am going to tell you about an ancient celebration, Ivan-Kupala Night in Belarus, that is connected to different interesting Slavic rituals and stories. Kupala Night is celebrated during the night from 6 to 7 July according to the Gregorian calendar and 23 to 24 June by the Julian calendar. In my opinion, Belarus kept this tradition in the most authentic way, as they celebrate the summer solstice every year with many rituals and customs.

The origin of the holiday

The roots of Kupala Night came from ancient history when people were pagans. The idea of the holiday comes from the tradition where people were celebrating the day when the light had a victory over the darkness. In the past, people believed that on this day, every living creature was in a special connection with each other on earth. Everything was merged into one whole organism and nature was waking up. They also believed that all plants had special magical powers on this day. That is why, young girls were collecting the healing plants, and they were singing at the same time. 

Picture © Credits to yesbelarus/Kupala Night

The meaning of the fire and beliefs

The fire has a special meaning on the night of Kupala. They put the fire during the celebration because it is believed that it can exile everything bad from their lives, and it can free up a person from all the negativity. That is why jumping over the fire is one of the most important rituals on this night. One more interesting symbol of Kupala Night is a flaming ring that expresses the sun. The sun is a symbol of kindness and life, and the flaming ring can attract them in people’s lives. 

Kupala Night is fun, especially for couples. They jump over the fire together, which has a symbolical meaning that they will be happy forever. After this, they go to the forest to find a special plant that is very hard to see. It is believed that those who find the plant will have the power to understand the language of animals and birds.  

Picture © Credits to theatlantic/ALAN TAYLOR

Villages where you can celebrate Kupala Night

There are two special villages in Belarus where Belarusians celebrate Kupala Night - Dudutki and Strochitsy. The villages are near Minsk, and they are organizing different concerts and games on this day. You can also taste delicious Belarusian dishes during the celebration. Dudutki also offers horse-riding and interesting sightseeing, such as old historical buildings, and etc. 

Summer is coming, and Kupala Night will be organized as every year. So, if you plan to visit Belarus soon, and you are interested in such kind of holidays, try to visit one of the villages to see an ancient celebration by yourself. You will be surrounded by traditions that I have presented to you, and the magic around them will make your time memorable. The most important thing is to believe in things you want to attract in your life. 

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