||This article needs additional citations for verification. (January 2010)|
|by Henryk Hector Siemiradzki|
|Also called||Feast of St. John the Baptist; Иван-Купала; Купалле; Іван Купала; Noc Kupały|
|Observed by||Slavic people|
|Significance||celebration relates to the summer solstice|
|Begins||July 6 (June 23)|
|Ends||July 7 (June 24)|
|Related to||Summer Solstice, Nativity of St. John the Baptist|
Kupala Night, Ivan Kupala Day (Feast of St. John the Baptist; Russian: Иван-Купала; Belarusian: Купалле; Ukrainian: Іван Купала; Polish: Noc Kupały) is celebrated in Ukraine, Belarus, Poland (Mazowsze and Podlasie) and Russia currently on the night of 23/24 June in the Gregorian or New Style calendar, which is 6/7 July in the Julian or Old Style calendar still used by many Orthodox Churches. Calendar-wise, it is opposite to the winter holiday Koliada. The celebration relates to the summer solstice when nights are the shortest and includes a number of fascinating Pagan rituals.
Folklore and Slavic religious beliefs 
On Kupala day, youth jump over the flames of bonfires in a ritual testing of one's bravery and faith. A couple in love's failure to complete the jump while holding their hands is a sign of their destined separation.
Girls would float wreaths of flowers often lit with candles on rivers and would attempt to gain foresight into their relationship fortunes from the flow patterns of the flowers on the river. Men may attempt to capture the wreaths, in the hope of capturing the interest of the woman who floated the wreath.
There is an ancient Kupala belief, that the eve of Ivan Kupala is the only time of the year when ferns bloom. Prosperity, luck, discernment and power would befall on whoever finds a fern flower. Therefore, on that night village folks would roam through the forests in search of magical herbs and especially the elusive fern flower.
Traditionally, unmarried women, signified by their garlands on their hair, would be the first to enter the forests. They are followed by young men. Therefore, consequent to the quest in finding herbs and the fern flower may be the blooming of relationships between pairs of men and women within the forest.
It is to be noted that biologists have held the persistent scientific fact that ferns have never and will never bloom.
In Gogol's story The Eve of Ivan Kupala a young man finds the fabulous fern-flower but is cursed by it. Gogol's tale may have been the stimulus for Modest Mussorgsky to compose his tone poem Night on Bald Mountain.
See also 
- Fête St-Jean-Baptiste
- Festival of San Juan
- Saint Jonas Day
- St John's Day (Estonia)
- Wianki (Poland)
- Kupala | Kupolė | Midsummer | Pirogovo | Jāņi |
- Semik — a related spring holiday.
- Yanka Kupala — the pen-name of this Belarusian author refers to his birthday of July 7.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Ivan Kupala Day|