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In Poland, Great Russia, Ukraine, Slovakia and Czech the garlands, with candles attached in the middle, would be set on water, their path on the surface foretelling the owner’s future.
Specifics depended on the region: in Poland along the Lower Bug river and Lower Narew river people used wooden circles with a candle and small garlands of various flowers: if the thing spun, one should expect their wedding, if they floated straight, a wedding should not be expected.
Depending whether a garland sinks or floats, is caught or not, if two come together on the surface or the current separates them or sinks them, they tell whether their future is going to be happy or not…Graduate of the Institute of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology in Warsaw, ethnographer, curator of the folklore collection, editor of "the New Ethnography".
Works in The State Ethnographic Museum in Warsaw in the Department of Polish and European Ethnography; conducts field studies in Poland and abroad, one of the creators of the Museum for Children.
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On that day, in the evening, girls throw garlands from bridges, previously setting a candle alight on them and from the banks tell their future.
Plants with yellow or white flowers in the shape of a radiating circle were also sought in north and south Slavic lands, for example mums (used in fortune telling and in Slovenia and Ruthenia called St. John’s head in Poland), chamomile, mountain arnica or pot marigold.
Even in the 1960s this traditional search would be carried out near Łowicz (central Poland) and in the early 21st century similar activities were registered near Hrubieszów (southeast Poland).
PME, Michalscy deposit 379, “Sobótka in the old days (drawn by Pilatti according to Jan Kochanowski’s description”, engraving, periodical “Tygodnik Ilustrowany”, 1861.
By permission of the State Ethnographic Museum in Warsaw – Archive Department (dep.
Michalscy) Midsummer’s Eve garlands protected from spells and curses.