Enjoying ad-free content?
Since July 1, 2024, we have disabled all ads to improve your reading experience.
This commitment costs us $10,000 a month. Your support can help us fill the gap.
Support us
Our journalism is banned in Russia. We need your help to keep providing you with the truth.

In Photos: The Ancient Slavic Midsummer Holiday of Kupala Night

Over the weekend, people across Russia and Belarus gathered to celebrate Ivan Kupala Night – an ancient Slavic festival to mark midsummer.

This folk holiday has both pagan and Christian roots, coinciding with the birth of John the Baptist. As such, water is a key motif during the festivities. Revelers often douse each other, and make flower chains which are cast onto rivers and lakes.

Bonfires are another prominent symbol of purification: it’s traditional for young couples to jump over the flames, proving their devotion. As night falls, participants in traditional dress dance and sing around the fire.

Here’s how one Russian village marked the occasion: