Updated at 21:48,17-09-2020

Ivana-Kupala In Belarus: A Folk Celebration

Rferl

Ivana-Kupala In Belarus: A Folk Celebration
Girls put on flower wreaths by a bonfire during Ivana-Kupala celebrations held by the Pripyat River in the town of Turau in Belarus's Homel region on July 6.
Ivan Kupala Day, also known as Ivana-Kupala or Kupala Night, is a traditional pagan holiday celebrated in eastern Slavic cultures. Various rituals are traditionally performed on Kupala Night, including making flower wreaths, fortune-telling, jumping over bonfires, and burning a wheel-like effigy symbolizing the sun.


Girls in ethnic costumes light candles on flower wreaths by the Pripyat River.



People ride in a boat during Ivana-Kupala celebrations. The letters on fire in the background read "Kupale." The name of the holiday comes from John the Baptist (John or Ivan), while "kupala" presumably refers to baths or bathing.



A girl wears a flower wreath. Initially, Ivana-Kupala was a pagan fertility rite that was also connected to the celebration of the summer solstice. After Christianity arrived, the rites were intertwined with the Christian feast of the Nativity of John the Baptist.



Girls in ethnic costumes carry flower wreaths. Ivana-Kupala​ is considered one of the four main holidays of the solar calendar.



Flower wreaths with lit candles float on the water. According to tradition, women float flower wreaths in order to predict their romantic future.



People in ethnic costumes shoot arrows during Ivana-Kupala celebrations.



A couple in ethnic costumes stand in a boat on the Pripyat River in the town of Turau.



Rites of Ivana-Kupala celebrations are related to purification, with both water and fire.



[center]People in ethnic costumes dance by the Pripyat River.[/center]


Jumping over a bonfire is one of the main events of Ivana-Kupala celebrations. According to tradition, it is a test of bravery but also a process of purification. Romantic couples jump over the bonfire holding hands. Failure to do so means a separation in the future.



People dance around a bonfire.



Girls wear ethnic costumes and flower wreaths.



Girls jump over a bonfire.



Girls wear flower wreaths.