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Kupalie and Dzyady

Unmarried girls are weaving wreaths
Keeping the wreaths on the water
Searching for a magic Fern-flower
Jumping over the fire
Fire symbolizes life

Kupalie - is the most loved and charished pagan holiday in contemporary Belarus. The tradition is very ancient. Under different names this holiday is celebrated by all peoples of indo-european group. In Belarus there is a whole complex of traditional rituals, beliefs, love and agricultural magic. Supposedly in ancient times Kupalle was celebrated in the night from July 6 to July 7. During the day of July 6 young girls were going into the meadows to collect different   plants and remedies - corn flower, ferns, etc. It was considered that the plants gathered at this time have particular strengths for curing and magic. Many rituals and traditions are still very popular and are followed by the Belarusian people. People say that on the night of 6 July 7 animals and trees could talk to each other. For many centuries this night is magical.
The central part in Kupalle celebration takes a fire. This fire symbolizes life. During the day young men would prepare the place to start the fire. Jumping over the fire when it is blowing is an act of purification. The next tradition is searching a magic Fern-flower in the forest (it blossoms only once a year as the legend says.) And the one who is lucky to find it will be happy the rest of his life. Unmarried girls are weaving wreaths and keep them on the water. If the wreath drift away far away, the girl this year, will get married. If the wreath will sail back to shore, then the marriage will not be. And if you drown a wreath, it is a bad sign.


Another Belarusian folk holiday, Dzyady is a  prechristian celebration originating from the cult of ancestors. It is a ritual dinner (a sort of wake) for commemoration of the dead relatives. Usually "Dziady" is also called the day on which the ritual is performed and the same name is used for the commemorated dead persons. Dziady was celebrated during particular days 3-4 times a year (depends on the region). The special ritual food is cooked for Dziady dinner - "kuccia" (fine barley porridge with berries), "bliny" (pancakes), fried eggs, meat. According to the tradition part of the food and drink is left in a special plate and glass for the dead. At this day families are going to the graveyards to take care of the graves.