The miraculous Midsummer night

The Midsummer night between 23th and 24 th June is a time, which was literally magical for our ancestors. Its symbolism is traditionally associated with the sun and the summer solstice. Significant elements of the celebrations were flowers, water and the most important was the fire, which was traditionally ignited on hills. Before igniting, the bonfire was mostly decorated with maypole (called janek in the Czech lands). The fire symbolizes the sun at the height of its forces. People celebrate and dance around it and many other rituals are associated with this fire, for example it is skipped as a part of the ritual cleansing or in some areas wheels or barrels were ignited and then descended down the slope to symbolize the heavenly movement of the sun. The girls wove the flower wreaths, adorned their heads with them, and then decorated them with candles and send them on the water. According to their movement on the surface, they prophesied their future in relationships.

Another tradition associated with Midsummer night was the nightly collection of medicinal herbs. It was believed, that if they were collected at this time, they would have greater power or magical power. Traditionally, a blossom of golden fern was also sought, which, according to legend, is supposed to have various miraculous qualities.

In eastern Europe this holiday is called Kupala (Ivan Kupala is John the Baptist) and its celebration is postponed due to the julian calendar. According to it the feast is also celebrated on the night before St. John from 23th to 24th June, but this means the night between 6th and 7th July in the gregorian calendar.

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Panslavic anthem