The vernal equinox or When there comes Novoletiye?
there Came day of the vernal equinox - date which our ancestors considered as the beginning of new year. More precisely, new summer as the account went on litas. Most likely, it is connected with the main occupation of our ancestors - agriculture.
The winter, in fact, drops out of an agricultural cycle, no field works as winter are performed. And as our ancestors lived according to a solar calendar, the choice of dates of the main holidays is absolutely objective - they are attached to solar cycles.
In a year four such dates are naturally allocated: summer and winter solstices, spring and autumn equinoxes. These key points divide year into four parts, each of which, in turn, is also halved. The cycle of agricultural holidays is connected with a solar cycle. Slavs - farmers perfectly knew when to ask gods about a rain or its termination, about the sun or snow. To it, by the way, there are material certificates - for example, ancient calendars.
Besides an agricultural ritualism, an important role was played by a cult of ancestors which elements are included in a row holidays.
But we will begin not since new year, and with a winter solstice. Why? Then the Sun - the baby “is born“ anew and in spite of the fact that the winter still ahead, arrives day - so life gradually prevails.
In the days preceding the vernal equinox (and, perhaps, in the next week), Maslenitsa was celebrated. Unlike the middle of February, its celebration these days looks absolutely reasonable. Well what farewell to winter in February! And transition to a Gregorian calendar still shifted dates, and for us the spring formally “comes“ earlier, than for ancestors. A present second half of February before revolution was in the deepest and frosty winter. And holidays are not just festivities, this first of all religious action. And everything is reasonable here, all not just like that. The vernal equinox - the beginning of agricultural new summer, one of the most important holidays of a year cycle. The sun - the baby becomes the young man and “grows“, blossoms together with all nature.
A summer solstice - day of Ivan Kupala. The name has Christian etymology though in kupalsky night ritual “bathings“ are really carried out. Their sense, as well as jumps through a fire - ritual clarification by water and fire. And when still to be cleared of troubles and diseases as not at a culmination point of solar year when the shortest night and the longest day in a year. This time - a time of blossoming of the nature. The sun passes from a young spring form (Yarilo) in summer, mature (Dazhbog). The nature is full of strength, and not for nothing kupalsky ceremonies are connected with fertility. They are directed not to awakening forces of nature (as spring), and it is rather on giving force to the ripening harvest.
The last holiday corresponds to the fourth of key points of solar year - to day of an autumn equinox , to the period on September 20-24. It is necessary to tell that our understanding of ancient cults is insufficiently full. Too a lot of things were lost, and therefore (especially so far as concerns a reality) it is necessary to guess much. Modern pagans include this day in a cycle of year holidays. According to B. Rybakov, the day of an autumn equinox separately was not celebrated by our ancestors, and was dated for a harvesting holiday. But concrete date of celebration is not so important as ancestors, certainly, were informed on the equinox. Day became shorter than night, the Sun passed into the following form, dying-away “old man“. Dying on the eve of a winter solstice, it will revive in shape of the young man next day …
Between these “tops“ of year located the holidays halving “quarters“ of year .
On February 11-18 - Velesova days . At the household level Velez - the patron of cattle, in a broad sense the bearer of material benefits, wealth. Why day in the middle of the winter is devoted to Velez? Because Velez is the lord of the world of the dead, it is its main form. It is no wonder that Velesov is celebrated the day in apogee of winter, the period of the most fierce cold weather. But everything in the world is cyclic, and the new summer, new life cycle arises right now.
On June 4 - Yarilin put , the beginning of summer. (The week preceding it is known as the Green Christmas-tide). It is a ritual meal in the field, ceremonies of dedication of young men, games, dancings, often with the expressed erotic aspect … And it is unsurprising, Yarilo is connected with the life-giving force, the mature nature.
On July 20 - Perunov day (and the week preceding it). The ceremonies and beliefs connected with water (in particular, a ban of bathings) can be explained with attempt to save the ripening harvest from rains. Perun is god of soldiers, but for farmers he is god of a thunder-storm. Ritual military games perfectly approach to umilostivit Perun. And not only they … Douche ritual, perhaps, bears echoes of ancient sacrifices.
On November 1-7 - Svarogova days (or days of Makosha). It is the period of commemoration of ancestors, preparation for winter. Now the western analog of this holiday, Halloween is known to us better. Masked could represent the cleared-up spirits rejoicing to the coming winter. And it is possible, in “spirits“ the late ancestors who were invited to an entertainment turned later. But Svarog also patron of weddings. And therefore these days festivities - meetings of guys with girls were held.
Of course, a lot of things from stated disputable. Dates can be inexact, and even the sense of many holidays is ambiguous. But it is important to understand that these holidays arose not from scratch. They are caused by tenor of life in traditional culture.