Monday, 11 June 2012

Summer Solstice, Kupavka doll and diplomacy

Privet! Hello!

Summer Solstice is a major date in the traditional calendars of many cultures. It has been one of the reference dates in the agricultural year.

Like in other Christian countries, Russian pagan celebrations of this period were so strongly implanted in national spirit that the Christian calendar had to accommodate for the feast called Kupala. Kupala was name one of the Slavic pagan gods. Spme time after christianisation of Russia in 988, the Solstice day became a celebration of the St John the Baptist nativity or St Johns day. But people for centuries have been calling this feast the day of Ivan Kupala (Иван Купала).

Just think of the name - Ivan Kupala - and everybody is pleased!
The pagan god Kupala is not forgotten and St John the Baptist is worshipped. Btw, do not be surprised to learn that Russian verb kupat' (купать) means to swim  or to wash. ;)

Fantastic example of diplomacy!

One can writes kilo(byte)s of posts about the Solstice festivities, especially because there were always several distinct celebrations around this date (Rusalki week, Summer Koliadas, Agrippina the Swim, Peter and Paul day).  But what about the dolls?

One of the Kupala rites is Kupavka (Купавка), for which the same-name doll is made.

This doll is made on a wooden cross, according to the usual practises for rite ans protection dolls making. Once the doll is made, you attach colourful ribbons to the spread hands, making a wish for each tighten node. You decorate Kupavka with flowers and herbs.
Once she is charged with your wishes and is made nice, you let her float on the water and let her go and pass your wishes to the forces that will accomplish them.


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