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Sviatky (Christmastide)

December 31, 2014

    Sviatky (Christmastide) has always been considered one of the most joyous and fun holidays for all Slavic nations. Throughout the whole time people tried to live merrily, do something special, living every day following certain signs and divinations. Dreams, visions and signs were treated especially seriously and carefully those days, as people believed that these had special powers during the Christmas holidays. It was believed that the dreams you have on Christmas (Jan 6 going on Jan 7) are prophetic, especially on a full moon. So often, girls would leave a candle and notebook beside their bed to write the dream down as soon as they woke up and then decipher its meaning.

 

   However the central ceremony were famous festive divinations. There was a tradition of Christmas fortune telling with the help of a well. At midnight, girls would get together and in silence get some ‘pristine’ water from the well. This water was believed to have magical powers. Every girl would then throw some of her belongings into the bucket - a handful of grains, a ring or a little bouquet. They would then have a little girl fish those out and hand back to the owners. Afterwards the girls would put the object under their pillow and if they were lucky, they’d see their loved one, their future husband in their dreams.

 

    Another fortune telling custom involved a rooster. People would scatter some grains on the floor and at midnight they’d bring in a rooster (preferably a black one).Then they’d read the future by the rooster’s behavior. If it ate all the grains, a good year was waiting for the hosts, and the girl who scattered the grains would be getting married soon. If, on the other hand, the rooster refused to eat the grains, there might be misfortune awaiting. For this ritual people also placed different objects around the animal. If, for example, during the process the rooster looked in the mirror, the girl’s loved one would be handsome and a real dandy.

 

 

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