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6 July 2011

Belarus to celebrate Kupalle

MINSK, 6 July (BelTA) – Belarusians are gearing up for Kupalle, the folk midsummer holiday, which is celebrated in the night from 6 July to 7 July, BelTA learned from the head of the traditional art department of the Minsk Oblast folk arts center Vitaly Kasperovich. Kupalle is celebrated by both the young and old. The older generation shares experience with the young, thus preserving the ancient rites. People sing folk songs, young girls and boys dance and jump over flames of bonfires. Girls float wreaths of flowers often lit with candles on rivers to get a glimpse into their future. The most fascinating part of this folk holiday is the search for a blooming fern. The legend has it that ferns bloom once a year, on Kupalle night. Prosperity, luck, discernment and power would befall on whoever finds a fern flower, or “Paparat-kvetka” as the Belarusians call it. Kupalle is one of the most important folk holidays, which is celebrated in midsummer when the nature is in full bloom. In the past, it was celebrated on the night of 23 to 24 June, and today on the night from 6 to 7 July. For example, many villages in Minsk Oblast have preserved the Kupalle traditions of ancestors. From village to village the rituals change, getting more local colors. The ritual in Minsk Oblast usually began with collection of medicinal plants, berries, roots and flowers for wreaths. It was believed that on this night the flowers and herbs have special medicinal properties. Kupalle is a good age-old tradition in Belarus. Its roots go back to paganism, when the ancestors believed in many gods and spirits. It was believed that on this midsummer night the dark forces got more active and that they needed to be cajoled or driven away. After the celebration the necessary condition for a return to everyday life was purification by water. People bathed in rivers and rolled over in the dew-laden grass. In the morning everyone went to watch the sunrise.