7th July (’22): Kupala Night [Poland, Russia, Belarus, Lithuania and Ukraine]

Kupala Night (Belarusian: Купалле, Polish: Noc Kupały, Russian: Иван-Купала, Ukrainian: Іван Купала), also called Ivanа-Kupala, is a traditional Slavic holiday that was originally celebrated on the shortest night of the year, which is on 21-22 or 23-24 of June (Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia) and in Eastern Slavic countries according to traditional Julian calendar on the night between 6 to 7 July (Belarus, Russia and Ukraine). Calendar-wise, it is opposite to the winter holiday Koliada. The celebration relates to the summer solstice when nights are the shortest and includes a number of Slavic rituals. It involves herb collecting, bonfire lighting, and bathing in the river.

The name of the holiday was originally Kupala; a pagan fertility rite later adapted into the Orthodox Christian calendar by connecting it with St. John’s Day which is celebrated on 24 June. Eastern Christianity uses traditional Julian calendar which is misaligned with actual solstice; 24 June in Julian calendar falls on 7 July in more modern Gregorian calendar.

This holiday symbolizes the birth of the summer sun – Kupalo. In the IV century AD, this day was proclaimed the holiday of the birth of John the Baptist – the forerunner of Jesus Christ. As a result of the Christianization of the pagan feast the name “Kupala” got connected with the Christian “Ivan”.

The Ukrainian, Belarusian name of this holiday combines “Ivan” (Joan/Johan/John, in this case John the Baptist) and Kupala which was thought to be derived from the Slavic word for bathing, which is cognate. However, it likely stems from the proto-Slavic kump, a gathering. The two feasts could be connected by reinterpreting John’s baptizing people through full immersion in water. However, the tradition of Kupala predates Christianity. The pagan celebration was adapted and reestablished as one of the native Christian traditions intertwined with local folklore.
Many of the rites related to this holiday are connected with the role of water in fertility and ritual purification. This is due to the ancient Kupala rites. On Kupala day, young people jump over the flames of bonfires in a ritual test of bravery and faith. The failure of a couple in love to complete the jump, while holding hands, is a sign of their destined separation.

Girls may float wreaths of flowers (often lit with candles) on rivers, and attempt to gain foresight into their romantic relationship fortune from the flow patterns of the flowers on the river. Men may attempt to capture the wreaths, in the hope of capturing the interest of the woman who floated it.

There is an ancient Kupala belief that the eve of Ivan Kupala is the only time of the year when ferns bloom. Prosperity, luck, discernment, and power befall whoever finds a fern flower. Therefore, on that night, village folk roam through the forests in search of magical herbs, and especially, the elusive fern flower.

Traditionally, unmarried women, signified by the garlands in their hair, are the first to enter the forest. They are followed by young men. Therefore, the quest to find herbs and the fern flower may lead to the blooming of relationships between pairs within the forest.

Ferns are not angiosperms (flowering plants), and instead reproduce by spores; they cannot flower.

In Gogol’s story The Eve of Ivan Kupala (also called Saint John’s Eve), a young man finds the fantastical fern-flower, but is cursed by it. Gogol’s tale was adapted by Yuri Ilyenko into a film of the same name, and may have been the stimulus for Modest Mussorgsky to compose his tone poem Night on Bald Mountain.

7th July (’22): World Chocolate Day

World Chocolate Day, sometimes referred to as International Chocolate Day, or just Chocolate Day, is an annual celebration of chocolate, occurring globally on July 7, which some suggest to be the anniversary of the introduction of chocolate to Europe in 1550. The observance of World Chocolate Day dates back to 2009.

Other Chocolate Day celebrations exist, such as National Chocolate Day in the United States on 28 October. The U.S. National Confectioners Association lists 13 September as International Chocolate Day, coinciding with the birth date of Milton S. Hershey (September 13, 1857). Ghana, the second largest producer of cocoa, celebrates Chocolate Day on February 14. In Latvia, World Chocolate Day is celebrated on July 11.

The U.S. National Confectioners Association lists four primary chocolate holidays on their calendar (Chocolate Day (July 7), two National Chocolate Days (October 28 and December 28), and International Chocolate Day (September 13)), in addition to variants such as National Milk Chocolate Day, National White Chocolate Day, and National Cocoa Day.

The hide and seek of winter


Where is the climate change?
In the extreme events that occur?

Today, November 7th seems to be a mild day in early autumn …
An abnormal heat …

Is the winter playing hide and seek? Or is it climate change?
Although I live in Abruzzo, on the Adriatic coast, where the climate is rarely harsh, I don’t remember such a heat.

Today I walked on the beach, where the sea was mysteriously calm …
The Adriatic coast – for the uninitiated – is less hot than the Tyrrhenian coast, where the current of the gulf arrives,
that has always warmed the Mediterranean. Furthermore, the mountains of Abruzzo do not allow the passage of hot air
west, often exposing the coasts to perturbations coming from the east.

But now winter, regardless of its game of hide and seek, does not seem to influence climate decisions …

Mexican GP, Bottas pole! Then Hamilton and Verstappen. Sainz 6th, Leclerc 8th

Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing. 06.11.2021. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 18, Mexican Grand Prix, Mexico City, Mexico, Qualifying Day

The two mercedes, After suffering and struggling, disappointed in the three free practice sessions, the star has resumed to shine in the supreme moment. Bottas on pole, Hamilton in the front row, in front of both Verstappen and Perez. And now what seemed like a very favorable race for Verstappen has turned into another uncertain chapter of the challenge.

In Istanbul, Yuki Tsunoda had ‘publicly’ revealed his support for Max Verstappen in the Dutchman’s world championship battle with Lewis Hamilton, stressing that he had done everything on that occasion to keep the British driver behind him. Today, however, in a completely involuntary way and in an attempt to make himself useful, the Japanese has instead created many problems not only for the Dutchman, but for the entire Red Bull team.

The Mexican Grand Prix takes place on the track dedicated to the Rodriguez brothers in Mexico City at 2,240 meters above sea level. The high altitude causes an air thinning of over 30% compared to the density at sea level. On the one hand, this phenomenon leads to a drastic reduction in the resistance to advancement of the cars, but in fact this is the only positive consequence, counterbalanced by many other decidedly negative factors. In fact, it is no exaggeration to consider rarefaction a ruthless killer of single-seater performance as well as constituting a tangible danger to the reliability of the power units.

Houston, tragedy at the Travis Scott concert: at least 8 dead and dozens injured

Moments of chaos and panic during the Texan rapper’s Astraworld Festival

The Astroworld Music Festival in Houston (Friday afternoon on November 5th) turned into a nightmare, with at least 8 boys between 16 and 23 years old killed, crushed against the stage by the crowd that pressed behind them.

There are countless injuries, over 300 of which about twenty in serious condition.

The tragedy began while the hugely popular rapper Travis Scott was performing, who repeatedly interrupted his performance to ask rescuers to intervene, until the show was suspended and the event definitively canceled by the organizers. “I am absolutely devastated by what happened. My prayers go out to the families of the victims,” ​​commented the rapper. The videos posted on the social networks show chilling images, with the first aid that with enormous difficulty manage to bring out the teenagers who beg to be saved from the grip of the huge crowd. A push that has become increasingly devastating as panic spreads. On the spot, crowded beyond belief, there were over 50,000 people, in a state like Texas where, due to the rampant pandemic, there are still over 100 deaths and 3,300 new cases of contagion a day, the highest figure in America. Elsewhere such an event these days would be unimaginable.

Some images also show dozens of young people who have forced the entrances without paying the ticket, and without anyone stopping their race. An indication of how perhaps there were even more people inside the festival than expected, in a situation that has actually become out of control. But on the causes of the tragedy, no one still has a say. The mayor of Houston swears that the security measures have been respected and that it is being investigated to understand how this could have happened.