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4 Slavic Traditions and Rituals In History That Will Surprise You

The part of history that you don’t want to know? maybe…

ivanovgood (CC0), Pixabay

The old Slavic sexual traditions are quite contradictory, some celebrating sexual freedom and connection with the Earth, while the others are built on the idea that lust is the core reason for all the evil in the world. This contradiction is closely related with the two main traditions affecting Slavic culture, namely Paganism and  Christianity.

 1. Nudity

You didn’t have to ask for nudes in the old days, as public nudity was a normal occurrence for our ancestors. They believed that clothes are only a byproduct of civilization and that nudity is closely related with magic and their ability to be one with nature. It was, therefore, a part of various rituals. For example, undressed women would walk around the cradle of a newborn child to force all the devils away.

On the holiday of Ivan Kupala, young people would go in the forest searching for the fern flower which only blossoms on this day. Naturally, you cannot find this flower with your clothes on, so all of the participants searched naked. Modern science proved that this flower never really blossoms, which points to the obvious real intention of this ritual.

2. Orgies

Several pieces of evidence show that mass orgies were a part of Slavic celebrations until the 16th century. These were mostly related to the period after winter when sexual activities were believed to clean a man’s soul and prepare him for hard work in the fields. In these sexual festivals, men and women would bathe together, participating in orgiastic rituals, where men would symbolically fertilize the earth, while the women would expose their genitals to the sky as a prayer for the rain. Furthermore, another ancient ritual from certain parts of Russia proves that Russians always knew how to party. On some evenings, mostly on holidays, young boys and girls would play in the dark, and these games almost inevitably resulted in a sexual intercourse.

The ancient Slavs associated sex with happiness, dance, and music, and it was their way to connect with nature. At least until the 12th century when Christianity started gaining strength in Slavic countries, enforcing the new view on nonmarital intercourse as a sinful act. This was a complete turn of events for the sexuality of Slavs, and these two contradictive viewpoints can be noticed in Slavic countries up to this day.

3. “Bludnitsa”

The term bludnitsa, or a “loose woman”, was not always related with negative connotations it has today. It appeared sometimes in the 7th century and it simply meant that a woman was still in search of an ideal husband. In the 8th century, a new tradition developed around these women, which proves that our ancestors had absolutely no issue with premarital sex. In fact, if a girl stayed a virgin until her marriage, a Shaman was obligated to deflower her a day before the wedding, in a ritual called the “girl baths”. It seems that being a Slavic magician wasn’t so bad after all.

This is also approximately the time when the term got a new meaning, describing all women who lost their virginity. Between the 12th  and 17th century, again with the rise of Christianity, the word bludnitsa portrayed a woman having nonmarital sex and it slowly became an offensive word.

4. The Skoptsy

Let’s jump to the 18th century when a controversial Russian sect named Skoptsy established its roots. Not until the 19th century did it reach its highest point, when, according to some sources,  almost one million members participated in their rituals. So what is this sect all about? Well, Skoptsy literally translates to “the castrated”, and this quite accurately describes their main cause. They were Christian mystics who believed that all the evil in the world comes from lust and that they need to overcome it to become pure spiritual beings, like Adam and Eve before the Original Sin.

The Skoptsy followed this idea quite literally.  They considered that a necessary action one must make, to save himself from lust and sins, is that he physically removes his genitals. The ritual consisted of few stages, and not only males converted as Skoptsy. Women have also participated in the rituals and had parts of their vagina or even their both breasts cut off. It was done unprofessionally, without any anesthetics, and some parents who converted would also include their children in the ritual.

The last members of the sect were noted in 1970, and none since then. It seems they have completely ceased to exist, mostly as the result of the Soviet Union repression. We sincerely hope they will keep it that way.

What do you think?

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