Midsummer (Ivan Kupala in Ukraine) is known since in ancient times among the Slavs as a celebration of the Sun, leaving the summer and green meadow. People belted with girdles of flowers, put on wreaths of grass. They danced odes, sang songs. Old men with rubbing dry sticks caught "live fire", made fires, in the middle of which there were placed the pole with a fortified burning wheel - symbol of the sun. Midsummer holidays occurred in pagan times in honor of the Sun God, whose wife was Lightful Zaryada, pretty girl.
Midsummer (Ivan Kupala) is one of the most poetic celebrations in the Ukrainian ritual calendar. Midsummer lights inspired on creativity not only a great writer Nikolai Gogol, but also many other writers and poets. The church celebrates the birthday of Ivan Baptist on this day. Even in pre-Christian times Slavs celebrated the holiday of Kupayla, i.e. Sun. Through the merger of Christian and pagan traditions formed the holiday of Midsummer (Ivan Kupala).
Fern, which reveals with a strong flame-red (distance raspberry) slightly shimmering color only for a few moments in the midsummer night, allows the finder to tell the future.
The main evening entertainment on Midsummer Day (Ivan Kupala) is jumping through fire. However, the lonely girls have also something to do on holiday. Unhappy in love, in order to bewitch the chosen, are recommend to run around the field of rye for three times at midnight on Midsummer Night (Ivan Kupala). Preferably naked. While running naked, the beloved will see her in a dream, and in the morning he will understand that it is indeed the one and only, he looked for all his life.
The bravest are looking for the magic fern blossom in this night. But remember: the way to the flower is protected by the devil, and earthly riches, which it opens, had not brought any good to anyone. It was believed that witches celebrated their fest on Midsummer night, which is amplified causing harm to people. Witches were considered to have water, boiled with ashes of Kupala fire, and, spattering themselves to this water, a witch could fly very quietly, where she likes.
On the day of Midsummer (Ivan Kupala) one tried to heal with dew. To do this one should get up early and walk barefoot on the healing Kupala dew. This day was a massive collection day of medicinal herbs. A special healing power of Kupala grass gains to sunrise, and so, as they say, "Early to rise, and that God gives!"
In the rites and games of the spring-summer cycle wreaths were indispensable headwear of girls. So, in east-Slavic rite "mermaid’s seeing off" for "mermaid" there was weaved a special wreath with the addition of nettle or a lot of wreaths, putting them on the head, neck, hands. The subsequent destruction of these wreathes (throwing them to the cemetery, in the water, fire, etc.) symbolized the act of expulsion of "mermaid".
Ukraine has hitherto the following rite: girls with the wreaths of fragrant herbs on the heads, in festive attire, and the guys with hats, also decorated with flowers, gathered on the eve of Midsummer Day (Kupala) at predetermined locations near the tree, hung with wreaths and ribbons; under the tree there is posed made God Kupalu made of straw, dressed in a chemise and aprons, with necklace and crown on his head. Nearby there are the tables with snacks and horilka (vodka). “Vodu upav. Kupalo na Ivana!”- these words are said on the Midsummer (Ivan Kupala) Day.