December is the month when people believe in miracles and fairy tales more than usual. That is because of the magic of Santa Claus and Christmas. The first month of the year, January, may appear empty and sad because the miraculous holidays are gone. But Slavic people created a special complex of activities to make this time brighter and funnier. In this article, we will talk about these activities and their origin.

Christmastide as a religious activity

Christmastide (in Russian: святки) lasts for the twelve days after «the first star (Christmas)» and until Epiphany. In Western Christianity, the feast commemorates the visit of the Mages to baby Christ, and thus Jesus Christ’s physical manifestation to the Gentiles. It is sometimes called Three Kings’ Day, and in some traditions celebrated as Little Christmas. In Polesia (the region is located in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, and Poland) Christmastide lasts a couple of days longer until the so-called «Emel’yani Perezimniki» (usually the 21st of January). After this day, the holidays end and people continue their regular life.

This period is interesting because people stop fasting, and pray more intensively than usual. Moreover, it was not allowed to marry during these days.

On the other hand, this time is full of magical rituals, divination, fortune-telling, cartomancy, dances, performances of mummers and songs. Mythological consciousness of people was influenced by the «boarder time» when Savoir is born (chaos is going to be replaced by the order). Also, the winter slowly loses its position, and the spring comes. As a result of it, the new year begins when people return to the fields to get a good harvest. It is not clear why, but people also believed that during this time souls and spirits return to Earth to show the future. It impacted people deeply because they wanted to know what will happen in the coming year and if everything be all right. To forecast it, people created a lot of magical rituals which were not liked by the church. The church criticized and continues to criticize people`s desire to foretell the future because it opposes Christian beliefs. One of the most popular wonders about the future was to know when a woman will meet her future husband and who is going to be married soon.

So here are several rituals that you can try!

Felt boots

It’s one of the most popular and easy methods to forecast the future. Girls go to a crossroads and throw a felt boot (or just a regular shoe). The direction which is pointed by the toe is exactly the side where your future husband will come from.

Mysterious ritual in the darkness

To try this ritual, you should be very brave. A girl sits between two mirrors in a dark room and lights candles. Then she looks into the mirrors trying to see the face of her future husband. The best time for this ritual is midnight because it’s also a boarder of the day and spirits can help you.

Who will be the next bride?

A group of girls get threads of equal length and set them on fire. A girl whose thread burns first will become the next bride. If the thread doesn’t burn or just a half of the thread is burnt, it means that this girl will never marry.

How to forecast the gender of the future baby

Thanks to medical development we can find out if we get a boy or a girl but centuries ago people didn’t have this comfort and had to create their ways to find out this information. So, if you want to repeat this magical ritual, take your engagement ring, and put it on a white thread. Take your ring hanging on the tread with the right hand and place it above the middle of your left palm. If your ring does round motions, you will get a girl. If the motions of the ring remind you of a pendulum, you will get a boy. If the ring changes its motions, probably you will have twins.

Rituals with a woodpile

If want to know the character of your future husband, you need a woodpile. Walk backwards to the woodpile and pick up a log without watching it. The form of the log describes the character of your future husband. If the log has no knots, the character of your husband is brilliant. If the log is huge and heavy, your husband will be very rich. If the log is covered with knots, you’ll have a lot of children. And if the log is crooked, the appearance of your future husband will not be nice.

Of course, these are not all magical rituals to forecast the future. Maybe they seem strange and not useful, but people centuries ago used them to learn about the future. Have you heard about these rituals before? Which rituals impress you the most? Would you try them? Let us

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