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

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.

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

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 Kupajlaor 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.

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.



Ivan Kupala Day

Complete the text with the words in the box.

celebrations    water    celebrate    ancient    believe   traditionally    decorate   luck

Every midsummer people in Ukraine ______________ Ivan Kupala Day. ‘Kupala’ means ‘bathing’ and the ______________ god Kupalo was also the god of love and harvest. These meanings come together in many rituals, which often involve fire and water because they symbolize the sun and the rain needed to make crops grow.

People collect flowers and plants to wear and to ______________ buildings. They also use them to tell the future. Girls make flower garlands and throw them into the ______________ . If the garland doesn’t sink, this is a good sign.

There is also a story that the night before midsummer is the only time of the year when ferns bloom. People go to the woods to look for the fern flowers because they ______________ that finding one brings good ______________ .


______________ , people also make fires. Often the fires are made outside the village near a pond or a river. They keep the fires burning all night. Young couples hold hands and jump over the fire. Those who let go of each other’s hands won’t stay together. Nowadays, the ______________ are not as big as they were in the past, but they are still found in many areas, particularly in the countryside.

Read the text again and answer the questions.

  1. When is Ivan Kupala Day?


  1. Who was Kupalo?


  1. What do fire and water symbolize?


  1. Why do girls throw flower garlands in the water?


  1. What do people look for in the woods?



  1. How long do the fires burn?


Write the questions for the answers.

  1. What ________________________________________________________

It means ‘bathing’.

  1. What ________________________________________________________

They collect flowers and plants.

  1. When ________________________________________________________

The night before midsummer.

  1. Where _______________________________________________________

Near a pond or river.

  1. Who _________________________________________________________

Young couples.