Sunday, July 7, 2013

Summer Solstice Celebrations

Yesterday, I spent the day on Toronto Island celebrating Ukrainian Summer Solstice– Ivana Kupala. Friends and colleagues Kosa Kolektiv put on this event on the Julian calendar date of July 6 (2 weeks after what we now consider the solstice). It was an evening full of magic. Beautiful men and women arrived, dressed in white. Wildflowers picked earlier in the day were spread out under the newly pitched red tent and were woven into wreaths. Songs of water nymphs were sung. A beautiful potluck spread was laid out and thoroughly enjoyed. A group sent away built an effigy of Kupalo (the god of summer and fertility) to burn later in the evening. More song were sung, in a circle, holding hands and holding candles–songs of Kupalo, of love, of water, of fire, of earth.  A roaring bonfire was built and Kupalo was burned–a symbol of the summer at it's peak, slowly now going towards winter. A crowd walked into the water and set their wreathes afloat, feet sinking into the sand, connecting to death, cold and winter. A second group waded into the water to fetch the wreathes, whosever they chose, their partners for the evening.  The partners jumped over the fire–whoever jumped the highest had the most happiness, whoever let go of hands, less luck came to them... Slowly led back to the tent and the forest behind it, whispers of a story were told "A red fern flower blooms on this night, to be searched for in the dark; whoever finds it hols the keys to the universe, but he mustn't tell anyone or the power disappears... "

Never have I felt so connected to the earth and to myself as on this beautiful day full of magic. Never before have I seen people glow as much with love and contentment as on this night. I feel so blessed to have come across these new, important friends of mine. Celebrate the earth. Connect to the elements. Share food with friends. Sing songs. Go barefoot. Skinny dip. There may not be any reason that we are here on this earth but we can celebrate every moment of it and fill ourselves with all of the love in the universe.

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