Friday, June 18, 2010

Midsummer in the Baltics

Here is a story about Summer Solstice festivities in the Baltic region of Europe from the Baltic Times

"...In both Latvia and Estonia couples are encouraged to go into the wilderness to look for the mythical ''fern flower'', this, in fact, a euphemism for outdoor love making. A Latvian NGO working to educate young people about sexual health appropriately calls itself ''Papardes Zieds'' or fern flower after the popular myth.

Estonian folklore talks of a particular couple Koit (dawn) and Hamarik (dusk) who only ever meet once a year on Jaaniohtu or Midsummer's Eve and exchange a quick kiss before going their separate ways.

While Latvians just search for the fern flower, Estonians are also on the lookout for Jaaniuss or glow-worms said to make their first appearances around about June 23. This is not a myth and not a euphemism.

Another tradition both nations share is the lighting of a Midsummer bonfire and the jumping over it. The ritual seemingly brings good luck to whoever successfully avoids the flame, and brings prosperity. The fire is also lit to frighten creatures away from the new crops thus ensuring a good harvest."  ...(Cont.)...

More on Baltic Paganism.
Neopaganism in Central-Eastern Europe
Midsummer Day
Baltic Religion
The Recurring World Tree in European Paganism
The Latvian Dievturi Church
The Baltic Crusades
Oi, tu, bijun, bijuneli
Saule Perkons Daugava - an essay for non-Latvians
Latvia's midsummer's night festival or "Ligo!"
Midsummer Festival 2009 - Kernave, Lithuania
Kūlgrinda - bernužėli kareiveli
Kūlgrinda - Nuslaide saulala
Kūlgrinda - Apėja sauliutė
kulgrinda - zeminnika kweitaakedi
Kulgrinda live  
Izdejot laiku 
IZDEJOT LAIKU - Četras stihijas / Four elements
TDA DANCIS - Pie Daugavas  
Gatves deja
Mana dziesma
Dziesma, ar ko tu sācies