Support The Moscow Times!

Now is the time to support independent reporting from Russia!

Contribute Today

The Night of Ivan Kupala, in Photos

While the summer solstice is more commonly marked with parties, fireworks and picnics in today's Russia, there's plenty of history behind the rituals that preceded modern-day celebrations.

Ancient tribes that inhabited this part of the world celebrated with fire, water, song, dance and rituals. Called the Night of Ivan Kupala (from the word “to bathe”), pagan villagers would head into the fields and forests in the evening, searching for the mythical fern flower. This flower supposedly only bloomed on the shortest night of the year, and gathered other herbs whose potency was considered greatest on the summer solstice.

Here's a look at how Russia celebrates this ancient holiday in modern times:

Russia media is under attack.

At least 10 independent media outlets have been blocked or closed down over their coverage of the war in Ukraine.

The Moscow Times needs your help more than ever as we cover this devastating invasion and its sweeping impacts on Russian society.