Every year, 250 km away from Toronto, at the Slucak cottage on the Manitouwabing lake, Belarusian folk band “Yavarovy Ludzi” organizes a pagan folk festival called Kupalle. Over the years, Kupalle has turned into a two-day celebration filled with ancient rituals, traditional games and dances, modern art installations and contemporary Belarusian music.
During the preparations, which usually take up the entire Saturday, the participants decorate the Kupalle wheel and gate and make a witch doll. Women and girls weave
chaplets to put into the water downstream as a part of a traditional Ivan Kupala fortune-telling ritual. Folk dances and games continue long after sunset when the bravest of hearts get to test their faith by jumping over the flames of bonfires or going into the night forest in search of a mysterious fern-flower.
All the participants are invited to a festive dinner where they can taste a traditional Belarusian drink called Krupnik.
The second day is dedicated to games and sport competitions and usually begins with outdoor yoga and/or tai chi practices.
During the 2016 Kupalle Festival, Nargiza Usmanova presented her art project Patterns of Life. That night, three traditional patterns appeared beside the Slucak cottage, which is 30 km from Parry Sound, ON. The first pattern, titled Kupalle, is the symbol of the festival. The second pattern, Mother, represents our roots and the country where we come from. The third pattern Child stands for our future.