This is a pagan fertility rite, which has been accepted into the Orthodox Christian calendar, in which it has been associated with John the Baptist.
The name of this holiday combines the words “Ivan,” the Slavic name of John (the Baptist), and “Kupala,” a word derived from the Slavic word for bathing, as it was the first day of the year when the church sanctioned bathing and swimming in rivers and ponds.
It is one of the most expressive East Slavic folk and pagan holidays. Many rites of this holiday are connected with water and fertility. Girls, for example, float their flower garlands on the water of rivers and tell their fortunes from their movement. Lads and girls jump over the flames of bonfires.
There is an ancient belief that the Eve of Ivan Kupala is the only time of the year when the ferns are blooming. Whoever finds a fern flower will become immensely rich.
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