, also known as 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 and Russia currently on the night of 6/7 July in the Gregorian or New Style calendar, which is 23/24 June in the Julian or Old Style calendar still used by many Orthodox Churches. In Poland (Mazowsze and Podlasie) it is celebrated on the night of 23/24 June. 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 Pagan rituals.
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 folk would roam through the forests in search of magical herbs and especially the elusive fern flower.
Traditionally, unmarried women, signified by the garlands on their hair, are the first to enter the forest. They are followed by young men. Therefore, the quest to find herbs and the fern flower may lead to the blooming of relationships between pairs of men and women within the forest.
It is to be noted, however, that ferns are not angiosperms (flowering plants), and instead reproduce by spores; they cannot flower.
Art © Me
Ukraine, fem!Russia, Belarus © Himaruya
fem!Poland © unknown