THE KUPALA DAY IN 'STARA BASN' BY JÓZEF IGNACY KRASZEWSKI
The article describes Kupala Day festivities in 'Stara basn' (An Ancient Tale) by J. I. Kraszewski. By reconstructing the ceremony, Kraszewski shows the connections with the traditional folk culture of Eastern Slavs. The participants of the ritual pay tribute to Kupala, the god of the summer sun, crops, affluence, and fertility. The author of 'Stara basn' shows the basic elements of the festival: the ritual bathing, the bonfire jumping, and dancing around the fires. Festival songs seem equally important and their main theme is the marriage of the Sun and the Moon. Singing during the festival time focused on life and abundance. The Kupala ceremony is connected with joy and laughter. Kraszewski also draws the reader's attention to the wonderful, magic meaning of the summer solstice. During the Kupala ceremony people are afraid of Jarucha the witch who could spellbind them. The merry-making in the forest puts an end to the summer solstice ceremony. The Kupala ceremony in 'Stara basn' takes place in an extraordinary setting, and its main feature is the vitality of participants. By showing the summer solstice festival, Kraszewski emphasizes the elements of the sun cult, the magic of soil, and the magic of purifying, erotic aspects of the ritual.
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