From Russia with love. He is a colorful young harvest deity who was originally a pre-Christian God of Love, Sex and Fertility.
His bonfire festival during the summer solstice — still celebrated today — is a triumph of tradition. Otherwise sensible people do very silly things and have lots of fun doing so.
During Kupala Night, unmarried youngsters head into the woods to search for ferns which — for one night only — magically produce flowers. This may lead to relationship bliss. Or at least a kiss. Anyone who finds a flowering fern receives a lifetime’s supply of good luck and a sinecure at the botany research institute of their choice.
Meanwhile, garlands are floated, bonfires are lit, and couples leap hand-in-hand over the flames to test their romantic suitability. We feel sure KUPALA approves — even if, thanks to Christian assimilation, he has now been downgraded to the role of fake JOHN-THE-BAPTIST stand-in.
This kind of thing also goes on in the Baltic. See KUPOLE.