Lada (goddess)

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Lada or Lado is the name of a putative Slavic pagan deity of harmony, merriment, youth, love and beauty .

The word 'Lado' does indeed appear in many Slavic and Baltic wedding and folk songs, particularly those sung during Ivan Kupala and other summer festivals. Its meaning, if indeed it has any, is unclear.

Some researchers claim it to be a mere exclamation.[who?] While many of the folk songs containing such an exclamation actually do have some elements from the pre-Christian celebrations of summer solstice, they are not addressed to any god or goddess Lado.

Other researchers[who?] postulate that a recurring usage of a certain word in similar context may be reasonably explained to be a trace of beliefs predating written tradition.

Opinion of Vitomir Belaj[edit]

Croatian ethnologist Vitomir Belaj studied a great number of songs of summer festivities from various Slavic nations. While not all of them contain Lado-exclamations, all of them do include a central character named Ivan or Ivo, meaning John, which is loosely associated with St. John the Baptist, whose feast day occurs in summer. However, the Ivan of these songs has almost no resemblance to the Christian saint: he is described as a young and handsome man, courting with young girls, and in one particular song he even explicitly refuses to baptise a young child presented before him, explaining he cannot do so because he himself is not a Christian. Belaj concluded that in these songs the name of Ivan stands in place of the name of an older Slavic god who was venerated at summer festival which later, after the arrival of Christianity, became the festival of St. John the Baptist. Belaj identified this lost god as Jarilo, a major Slavic deity of vegetation, harvest and fertility. Thus, in the above Bedekovic's record of Lado-song, the "holy god" mentioned in the verses indeed does refer to a forgotten pagan deity, though not to Lado, but rather to Ive or Ivan, who is actually Jarilo.[1]

The same can be said for the following Serbian Lado-song recorded in Nikola Begović's Srpske narodne pjesme iz Like i Banije, which was likewise sung by young girls standing in circles.

Lado! Vid slept in a meadow
Lado is beautiful!
Lado! fair elf-maids were waking him
Lado is beautiful!
Lado! Stand up young Vid!
Lado is beautiful!
Lado! your house is on sale;
Lado is beautiful!
Lado! your mother is dying;
Lado is beautiful!
Lado! your lover serves another.
Lado is beautiful!
Lado! Then answers young Vid
Lado is beautiful!
Lado! you are lying fair elf-maids;
Lado is beautiful!
Lado! neither is my mother dying;
Lado is beautiful!
Lado! neither is my house on sale;
Lado is beautiful!
Lado! but my lover serves another.
Lado is beautiful!

In modern culture[edit]

M. Presnyakov. Lada (“Slav cycle”). 1998.

Lada is one of the deities, in order of whom some modern pagans feast their "seasonal holidays".[2]

Sometimes the goddess attracted attention of the modern artists.[3][4]

References[edit]

External links[edit]