Night of a Thousand Lights – Kupala

Life in Russia


Kupala Night

Kupala Night is one of the most joyous Slavic traditions in Russia, Ukraine, Poland, and other Slavic countries. It’s a celebration of fire, water, the Sun and the Moon. It’s a time of bumper crops, fertility, and love for all who join in the festivities. They began as pagan celebrations that date back to the time of Slavic, German and Celtic tribes that are still practiced to this day.

What began as a pagan holiday has changed into a Christian Holy day.

One scholar of mythology, Sir James Frazer, believed the holiday originally called Kupala was a pagan fertility rite that was adopted into the Orthodox Christian calendar. The analogue for the celebration of the legacy of St. John comes at the time of the summer solstice. It was a day celebrated as St. John’s Day in Western Europe. Thus comes the name Ivan (John) Kupala (derived from…

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