Thanks to the efforts of the media, the impression was created that all Russians are eager to celebrate not a holiday of the Nativity of the Forerunner and the Baptist of the Lord, but a certain holiday of "Ivan Kupala". At the same time they declare with authority that this is a pre-Slavic holiday. However, the ancient Slavs never heard of Kupala. The mention of him appeared only in the XVII century!
"The modern historian V. Ya. Petrukhin criticizes the generally accepted point of view about the pre-Christian sources of the holiday.
The pre-Christian name of the holiday is unknown. The name "Ivan Kupala" has a folk-Christian background and is a Slavic version of the name John the Baptist, since John's epithet is translated from Greek as "bather, immersion" (Greek βαπτιστής). The choice of the verb "to bathe" for the translation of the epithet "baptizer" was conditioned by Slavic ideas: praslav. "Kǫpati" meant a ritual ablution, purification, which was carried out in open reservoirs.
The deity "Kupala" was first mentioned in the late Gustyn annals (17th century) and is the fruit of a misunderstanding: the chronicler, knowing about the "devil's play" on Ivan Kupala, took the name of the holiday for the name of the pagan god. Subsequently this misunderstanding was repeated by the scribes, and then by the early explorers of Slavic mythology, as a result of which a new "deity" appeared in the Slavic pantheon. "Bessovsky" names began to be replicated in Russian late medieval literature as the names of "gods" under the influence of Polish historiography. In fact, Kupala was never a deity and could appear in folk representations only as a folklore personification of the holiday, reflected, for example, in songs.
Celebrating the new moon by burning fires and jumping through them condemns the 65 rule of the Trulla Cathedral (692 year), citing the example of the pagan rites of the Old Testament king Manasseh. Theodore Valsamon (XII century) in his commentary to this rule describes in detail the celebration of the Nativity of John the Precursor in Constantinople:
"In the evening of 23 June, the men and women gathered together on some shores and some houses, and some first-born girl was taken away as a bride. Then, after a feast and a frenzied dance, after singing and screaming, they poured seawater into a copper vessel with a narrow throat and put in some things belonging to each of them. As soon as this girl received from Satan the power to give answers to questions, they asked with screaming about something good or foreshadowing misfortune, and the girl, taking out from the enclosed things in the vessel some kind of randomly caught, showed. Accepting the thing, the unreasonable owner of her immediately acquired the certainty that in the future he would be prosperous or unhappy. The next day, with tympani and choruses, they went out to the seashores, drew a lot of sea water and sprinkled their homes. And these unreasonable people did not only this, but also all the night they burned piles of hay, galloped through them, and demonized them with power, that is, they guessed about happiness and misfortune and about other things. His way back and forth, the building in which there was peeling, with adjacent to it outdoor places were carpeted and decorated with silk fabrics and wreaths of wood leaves. "
Patriarch Michael III of Anhial, according to Balsamon, ordered to end these rituals.
In medieval Russia, the rites and games of this day were also considered demonic and were forbidden by the church authorities. Thus, in the epistle of the Abbot of Spaso-Eliazar monastery of Pamphylus (1505), the Pskov governor and authorities are exposed to the pagan riot of Pskov residents on the night of the Nativity of John the Baptist:
"The idol, idol celebration, joy and joy Satanic ... to that (Satan) I (to) the sacrifice, and all the defilement and unlawfulness of the feast of celebration are brought ... There are tambourines and the voice of sopelias and the strings are beating, wives and maidens are splashing ( clapping hands) and dancing and their heads nosing, their mouths are disgusted with call and cry, vseskvernennye songs, devilish pleased sverhashusya, and the backbone of their wiggle and their feet jumping and trampling.
In the "Stoglav" (a collection of decisions of the Stoglav Cathedral of 1551), the revelry of the bathing festivities, which is being built to Hellenic paganism, is also condemned:
"Still many of the foolishness of a simple child of Orthodox Christians in hailstones and in villages are creating Hellenistic demons, different games and splashing against the holiday of the birth of the great Ivan Pretechi in the night and on the holiday itself all day and night. Muzhi and wives, children in the houses, and walking around the streets, and through the waters, they make all kinds of games and all kinds of skits, and singing satanic songs, dances and guslmi, and many other kinds, and stingy education, even drunkenness "( Stoglav, Chapter 92: The answer is about the playfulness of Hellenistic fortitude).
But, despite the unequivocal condemnation of the bathing traditions, the settlers held them very steadfastly. In the XVIII century, Nicodemus (Kononov) wrote:
"People have long been accustomed to and do not soon leave these" bathing "customs, and zealous priests had to endure and resentment. Olshansky, for example, the priest Potap was nearly beaten by a hundredth man for this jealousy. The conspiracy, conspiracy, the hall of the spike, fortune-telling with dried toad, reading magic conspiracy books even by the military, fortune telling with the maternity infant's shirt, poison - all this was in great progress among the inhabitants of the Belgorod diocese. "
Modern representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church still oppose certain customs of the holiday. At the same time, answering the question about the "interweaving" of the Christian and pagan holidays, Hieromonk Job (Gumerov) expressed the opinion:
"The age-old vitality in the people of certain customs of the day of Kupala does not indicate a double belief, but rather an incompleteness of faith. After all, how many people who have never participated in these pagan entertainments are prone to superstitions and mythological ideas. The ground for this is our fallen, damaged by sin, nature. "
So paganism mimicked and used the triumph of the Church. However, today, no matter how hard journalists try, "bathing" does not have popularity with the people and remains a folkloric delicacy of mass-entertainers.
The church glorifies the true Culprit of the triumph - God - and rejoices about the Forerunner of Christ and his glorious Nativity.
Happy Holidays, friends!