Midsummer traditions of Kupala Night in Muszyna

A unique initiative brought together 32 school children from Poland, Slovakia, and Ukraine for a transformative experience. These young minds embarked on a joint project designed to foster understanding, appreciation, and connection among diverse cultures during midsummer traditions and customs on the outdoor staging of Kupala Night in Muszyna.

The meticulously crafted program aimed to immerse the participants in the local features, traditions, rites, and rituals of the borderland region. The journey of exploration began in the Muszyna State Museum in Muszyna, Poland, where the schoolchildren delved into the rich tapestry of rituals, customs, and traditions. Dance and vocal workshops in Dwór Starostów, led by the talented Kapele “Muszyniacy,” allowed the participants to present songs from their own regions related to Midsummer Night and learn new songs that bridged their cultural borders.

Mrs. Małgorzata Bajorek at the Museum of Muszyna provided a captivating presentation on the “Traditions and customs of Kupala Night in Muszyna,” offering insights into the cultural heritage of the region. The Slovak side contributed significantly, organizing workshops that showcased folk and ritual songs, dances, holiday rituals, traditions, costumes, crafts, and cuisine. The exchange of knowledge concluded with dance workshops that brought the entire project group together.

Despite challenging weather conditions, the young participants ventured to the meadow above Muszyna, where they collected flowers and plants for crafting wreaths—an ancient Slavic symbol of Kupala Night. In the Sensory Gardens and the “Zapopradzie” Amphitheater in Muszyna, they worked on elements of ritual decorations, such as painting symbolic and oracle stones.

The pinnacle of the project was the Outdoor Staging of Ritual Event, held on the 24th of June, where the children showcased their collective efforts in a performance titled “Midsummer traditions and customs on the borderland – joint outdoor staging of Kupala Night in Muszyna.” The event served as the finale of the entire project, featuring traditional songs and the symbolic release of the crafted wreaths.

Over the five days, the participants not only learned about each other’s cultures but also built bonds, shared experiences, and discussed their dreams for the future. The project aimed to unite the youth in envisioning a common European future without conflict, a future built on shared values and understanding.

For the Ukrainian children, the experience was particularly important, offering a respite from the harsh realities of their homeland. In Muszyna, they felt warmth, joy, and laughter without the haunting echoes of sirens and bombings, instilling in them a belief in kindness and love.

The joint Outdoor Staging of Ritual Event was a testament to the success of the project, showcasing the culmination of shared experiences, collaborative efforts, and newfound friendships. As these 32 children from three nations stood united on the stage, the echoes of their harmonious songs and the release of their symbolic wreaths resonated with the hope for a peaceful and interconnected future.