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Kupala Night in Ukraine

Kupala Night, also known as Ivan Kupala Day, is a Ukrainian observance annually held on July 7 to celebrate the summer solstice.

Is Kupala Night a Public Holiday?

Kupala Night is not a public holiday. It falls on Sunday, July 7, 2019 and most businesses follow regular Sunday opening hours in Ukraine.

Some women dress in traditional clothing and floral wreaths to celebrate Ivan Kupala Day.

©iStockphoto.com/YouraPechkin

What Do People Do?

Many Ukrainians celebrate Kupala Night with bonfires that last throughout the night. Some people leap over the flames as it is believed that the act of jumping over the bonfire cleanses people of illness and bad luck. Some groups of people sing songs about love, romance and marriage on Kupala Night. It is also customary for some women to wear traditional clothes with embroidery and a wreath of flowers on their head to celebrate the summer night.

Public Life

Ivan Kupala Day is an observance and not a public holiday in Ukraine.

Background

Ivan Kupala Day combines the words Ivan, the Slavic name of John the Baptist, and Kupala, derived from the Slavic word for bathing. However, is also said the name of the day is associated with Kupajla or Kupalo, a harvest god. Traditions and activities associated with this holiday can also be traced back to Pagan rituals.

Kupala Night is linked with the summer solstice celebrations. The July 7 date is not the actual day of the June solstice, also the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere. According to the Julian calendar, Kupala Night is on June 24, which in theory is closer to the June solstice.

Symbols

It is believed that the act of leaping over bonfires purifies people from sickness and bad luck. Water is thought to be another purifying element.

Kupala Night Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday Type
2015TueJul 7Kupala NightObservance
2016ThuJul 7Kupala NightObservance
2017FriJul 7Kupala NightObservance
2018SatJul 7Kupala NightObservance
2019SunJul 7Kupala NightObservance
2020TueJul 7Kupala NightObservance
2021WedJul 7Kupala NightObservance
2022ThuJul 7Kupala NightObservance
2023FriJul 7Kupala NightObservance
2024SunJul 7Kupala NightObservance
2025MonJul 7Kupala NightObservance

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