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.
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.
Sophie Hodorowicz Knab, Mary Anne Knab (Illustrator), Polish Customs, Traditions and Folklore
Very popular among our readers is a book about Polish pagan traditions written by babcia Okana Singing Back The Sun: A Dictionary of Old Polish Customs and Beliefs