Images From Ivan Kupala Night

In parts of Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, and Russia, an ancient pagan summer rite called Kupala combined with the traditional Orthodox feast of Saint John the Baptist, becoming Ivan Kupala Night, a festival celebrating the summer solstice. On Ivan Kupala Night, young people wear wreaths symbolizing purity, people sing and dance around bonfires, and they bathe naked in rivers and lakes. Many gather up their courage and leap over fires as a test of faith, to purge themselves of their sins and bad luck, and to improve their health. Collected here, a handful of images from Ivan Kupala Night celebrations in recent years.

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