Kupala Night is a celebration, that comes from Slavic Pagan Tradition. This Night is connected to Summer Solstice. Its festivities are meant to honor the Powers of Nature- especially the Power of Sun. It’s a celebration of Fire, Water, Sun and Moon, abundance,fertility, happiness and love. The old stories speak about the endless Magick of this night, full of love, joy and unity.
Kupala’s name seems to have two possibilities of its origin. One leads us to an Old God- named Kupala, who was the Slavic version of the Roman Cupid, God of Love. Some believe him to be the Swarog’s son, or one of his personifications. The second theory claims that it comes from the Indo-European word: “kup” meaning “to glow” “to burn” or “kump” meaning “a group of people, a gathering). Similar celebrations to this one are: the German Mittsommerfest, or the Finnish, Estonian and Lithuanian Ligo. It reminds me about some Celtic motives of Litha.
Kupala Night has many faces. It’s focused on the Magick of the Elements- Fire and Water, Fertility, Love, the end of Spring (our goodbye to the Jaryla God) and welcoming Summer. As it’s the shortest night of the year, the veil between Worlds is thinner. The connection with the Underworld is much easier, therefore the Magickal Rituals and Rites are very powerful.
The Folk celebrating Kupala would build fires, that later on they would jump over for good luck and cleansing, they would swim in rivers for the same reasons. Reading from the flower crowns released on the surface of the river could tell a maiden about her nearest future: when the crown drowns- the girl is said to die alone, if it’ll swim far away, she won’t get married any time soon. If a young man picks up her flower crown, they are said to get marries soon after. The tradition of allowing the flower crowns flow on the river comes back a lot recently: especially in Warsaw and Krakow.
Another popular ritual is the search of the Fern Flower. Finding it was meant to bring you endless wealth, power and wisdom. Couples, under this excuse would go somewhere quiet and far from festivities to enjoy each other's company. Pre martial sex had many restrictions and rules in Slavic Culture, but during this night was allowed, even recommended to enjoy free love.
Other rituals included: flower, herbs, water wells divination. One should walk around their home with a flaming torch, to keep it safe, bring abundance and protection. Feasting is a big part of this celebration. It was always the most important Slavic Celebration. Full of joy, splendor, sex and powerful Magick.