Kupala night is a folk festival of water, fire and plants. This holiday is celebrated on the night of 6th July. Celebration relates to the summer solstice and by it’s rituals is similar to winter holiday Kolyada. Ivana Kupala night comes from heathen rituals of bathing and cleanup. With the adoption of Christianity this holiday has been confined to John the Baptist day and associated with baptismal service. That is why currently Ivana Kupala is not a heathen holiday, but a religious one.
Ivana Kupala eve is considered to be more sacral than the whole day itself. Most rites and rituals this day are connected with the role of water in fertility and purification. Kupala night is considered to be one of the most magic and strong nights, full of mythic and curative properties. All the rituals on this night are aimed to cleanup and healing.
In Ukraine it was thought that on Kupala Night all evil spirits leave water, so people can bathe safely. Water was considered as holy and it was a must to bathe that night. Bathing that night could clean you up and cure, because of magic properties of water.
As well as water fire was considered as a holy element. That is why there were a lot of rites connected with fire. Of course, it was better to combine several elements in order to increase a magic power of that night. So, people tried to make fire near the water ponds.
Young people jump over the flames of bonfires in a ritual test of bravery and faith. Mothers burn clothes of their sick children in order to fight the illness. Girls floated wreaths of flowers lit with candles on rivers. If your wreath floats faster than wreaths of the others, you will have a happy life and happy marriage. If your wreath drowns it means that this year you will not get married or your groom will fall out of love with you.