Since ancient times, Slavic people have celebrated the summer solstice as the day of Ivan Kupala. On night of June 23rd, everyone celebrated this mystical holiday, filling it with songs, chants, fortune-telling and legends. During the day of Ivan Kupala, young girls made wreaths of herbs and flowers and in the evening floated then on the water watching as they drift away. A sinking wreath indicated the end of love for that girl, for that year and that she must wait another year to be married.
There is a legend that at midnight, the mysterious fern begins to bloom. This miraculous, fiery, flower would point to a buried treasure regardless of how deep it had been hidden. Around midnight, a white bud appears on the wide fern leave. Anyone seeing this beautiful flower would have their deepest wish fulfilled.
Another Slavic legend states that on this night of Ivan Kupala, the beautiful young mermaid, Rusalka can be found in bodies of water. Rusalka enjoys enticing young men to their demise. Although there are many different stories concerning the legend of Rusalka, they typically involve young women dying violent deaths sometimes at their own hands. Commonly, the death is by drowning and often revolve around women betrayed by a lover or husband.
During Ivan Kupala, Rusalka leaves her lake or swamp and wonders through the woods searching for her lost love. When she comes upon a young man, she will lure him back into the dark water where he will spend eternity with her.
Because of the nature of suicide, Rusalka's soul is lost for all time and she is destined to wonder the dark and watery depths only coming out on Ivan Kupala's day to look for her lost love. In other Slavic mythologies, such as the stories of Sadko and Baba Yaga, this recurring theme of "the lost soul" is repeated.