To celebrate the shortest night of the year, people launch Chinese lanterns during Kupala Night in Poznan, Poland.
Ivan Kupala Day (John the bather day) is the feast day of John the Baptist in some Central and East European countries, held near the summer solstice. It is equivalent of Valentine’s Day.
For some neo-pagans, Kupała, also known as Sobótka, is the festival celebrated on the Summer solstice in June. They believe that it was a sacred holy day honoring the two most important elements: Fire and Water.
The tradition is to burn fires at the end of the day and bathe in open waters at sunset, singing and dancing around ‘pal’ till midnight. At midnight, under the pretext of searching for “the flower of the Fern,” unmarried men and women run into the forest. Ladies with a crown of flowers on their head (Polish: wianek), a symbol of their unmarried state, go first, singing. Next they are followed by single men. If you find the “flower of the Fern” the wishes of life may be fulfilled. However, nobody found it so far, but they lived happily together. The lucky man would return with a flower ring on his head, with the now engaged lady.
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