Midsummer in Poland - 2007

At the end of June, at the time of Summer Solstice, when night is shortest and Nature bursts with blossoms and growth, we celebrate the Holiday of Fire and Water, also called Noc Kupaly, Sobótka or Kres.

The name Kupala is an ancient notion which derives most probably from either:
1. taking a puryfing bath at that time,
2. crowds of people coming and feasting together,
3. the green high pole, similar in its symbolic meaning to Maypole.

Sobótka meaned a festivity celebrated on Saturday (it used to be a holiday a couple of centuries ago) or, later in the past, a bonfire lighted on top of hills and balks all over indoeuropean Europe. The name 'Kres' stands most probably for an activity of kindling a bonfire by rubbing oak timber (male) with a piece of linden or birch timber (female). In English speaking countries, the magical night is commonly known as Midsummer Night.

The Holiday of Fire and Water (with fire regarded as male element and water concerned as female one) was and still is regarded as fundamental manifestation of life force. During that magical night people go to rivers and lakes to bathe in order to become young, healthy and fertile. There is no happier holiday than Kupała, because, as they say, on that morning the sun dances and the power of life fills every particle of Nature.

This year we will celebrate the festivity on Saturday, June the 23rd on a huge meadow close to the Polish city of Poznan. As it is typical for this culture, we will begin with the sun setting. The celebrations will take all night and are planned to be finished in the morning, after the sun will rise. If you are interested to join, please contact us via email: zywawoda@interia.pl . You can also send your email to niedzwiedz.poznan@interia.pl . ATTENTION!! This year guests from outside Poland pay no entrance fee.

In the coming event, we are honored to host Tomas Kocko a Orchestr (http://www.kocko.cz) from Czech Republic, leading folk musicians in the country. Czech bagpipes against Polish ones?! No problem!! We will be as much honored to listen to the tunes played by a superb, absolutely outstanding bagpipe player Jarosław Cwaliński, a representative of Polish 'Great Poland' region (the Solstice festivity will take place in the very heart of this region).

It is worth to mention that this is an not commercial event and has got no sponsors. Beeing created by common people- for people, with no desire for profits other than to be as Free and as united with the Nature as it is possible, at least for this one, special night.

Photographs and Text by Jakub Drajerczak, Poznan,
please visit his website to find more details about the celebrations: SUMMER SOLSTICE-POLAND-KUPALA-MIDSUMMER

Check our earlier article about St. John's Night; Midsummer - Pagan and Christian Tradition and about pagan ceremony of Spring: Sinking of Marzanna and the selection of Polish pagan traditions .

Check this very interesting book devoted to Polish folk traditions:
Song, Dance, and Customs of Peasant Poland, by Sula Benet

Check also Singing Back The Sun: A Dictionary of Old Polish Customs and Beliefs
by Okana

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