Belarusians Celebrate Kupalje

(Photo by Valery Rudnev via Forum Daily)

In a quiet suburb of New York, representatives of the Belarusian diaspora arranged the celebration of Kupalje, a ritual that has been uniting people of different faiths for years. An analogous holiday does exist in the calendars of many eastern Slavic and Scandinavian peoples. However, only Belarusians are known for the special impetus and enviable consistency of the holiday celebration. [Editor’s note: The event is known as Ivan Kupala Day in Russia and Ukraine and is observed in connection with the summer solstice and the longer summer daylight hours.]

This year the celebration of Kupalje brought together Belarusians from various states, such as New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut.

(Photo by Valery Rudnev via Forum Daily)

For many years now, local lovers of folklore have been gathering for an entire night, in order to pay tribute to their ancestral traditions and simply to have casual conversations in an informal atmosphere. Among those present, in addition to the Belarusians and Americans, were also natives of Ukraine, Lithuania, Russia, Moldova, and Spain.

In staying true to tradition, participants of the event performed in circles, dancing around a campfire and making breathtaking leaps over the flames. There was also singing and playing of Belarusians folk songs, swimming under the stars, and seeking the flower of a fern in the forest. According to the ancient legend, a fern blooms only during the night of Kupalje and can fulfill the dearest wishes of those who are able to find it.

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