What: Summer Solstice Celebration: The Holy Day of Rasa
Location 1: Vilnius
Details: Verkiai Park, Žaliųjų ežerų g. 53 Vilnius Direcions
Location 2. Kernave (40 KM from Vilnius)
Details: Širvintos district (Well known archaeological site) Directions
When: June 23rd 2016 – June 24th 2016 Time: 19:00 – sunrise
The Romuva movement is part of the movement of rebirth of ancient spiritualities in Europe. This renaissance is occurring very naturally and regularly, because its time has come. We can rejoice that the Baltics and other European nations have preserved the richest resources for this movement – their ethnic cultures, which will serve faithfully in the movement of nature worshipers in Europe. – Inija Trinkuniene, Head Priestess
About: Join Romuva in their Summer Solstice Celebrations at one of two popular locations in Lithuania.
The Vilnius celebrations, located in Lithuania’s capital will be organised in Verkiai Park, situated on the bank of the Neris River, a popular destination surrounded by forest, castles, lakes, hills and a sacred spring known by the locals for its healing properties. If you are not accustomed to the language or the Baltic celebration, the Verkiai location is a good choice as the event is condensed to a general area thereby making it easy to follow along if you are not familiar with the schedule.
The Kernave celebrations will be organized in a famous archaeological location on over 400 acres (196 hectares), holding several ancient sites linked to the countries’ pagan roots including 130 burial grounds, as well as spectacular views of the Neris River. This is a popular location for the Romuva Summer celebrations gathering up to 3000 participants.
Celebrate the Baltic Solstice through the night with joyful festivities of chant, song, ritual dance, ceremonial practices around the fire as well as ancient prayers and offerings to the Gods and Goddesses connected to the Solstice time including the God of Thunder ‘Perkunas’, The Goddess of the Earth ‘Jemina’ and the Goddess of Fire ‘Gabija’.
Below is an excerpt from an article by Inija Trinkuniene, Head Priestess of Romuva detailing elements of their summer solstice festivities:
Rasa, which means dew, was regarded as a fundamental manifestation of life force in ancient times. It has divining qualities on solstice morning.
Simonas Daukantas [Lithuanian Writer/Historian] wrote “Before that holiday, everything under the sun went to the sacred rivers and lakes to bathe, to become young, and if one followed the rites carefully, he would become wise and clairvoyant. There was no happier holiday than Rasa, because, as they say, on that morning the sun dances.”
At this time, most healing herbs are possessed of great strength and potency. On the eve of Rasa, young women engage in the holy gathering of herbs (kupoliauti). The specific herbs for this day, or Kupoles, as they are called are: daisies, St. John’s Wort, bilberries and any yellow blossoming herb (melampyrum nemorosum). “Kupeti” – means to grow healthily, to sprout through the earth.
The kupole which is a branched pole is placed in the center of the ritual area. The top of the pole is triple branched (which is reflected in the rune ascribed to this feast day). In eastern Lithuania it is explained that this is a miraculous growth with three branches, one of which blooms like the Sun, the other – like the Moon, and the third – like a Star. . […]
Rasa is a wreath-making holiday. Maidens make wreaths from magical herbs (kupoles) and place them on their brows. Wreaths decorate homes, doors and gates. The men adorn themselves with wreaths of oak leaves. During the night, everyone goes to sacred rivers and lakes and cast these wreaths in the water. Candles are attached to the wreaths. […]
Gates are constructed from poles with the appropriate rune atop and decked in greenery. Each person that enters through the gates becomes a participant in the Rasa rites. Around one pole of the gate, maidens circle and around the other – young men. They bow and greet each other as they pass, circling through the gate while a daina is sung. One strives to greet the summer solstice partner of choice.
According to our custom, the “old fire” is extinguished with pure water and a new, holy fire is kindled. The sacred “aukuras” (ritual fire) is addressed. We bid goodbye to the setting Sun and honour nature by the placing wreaths near the fire. Newlyweds carry the new kindled fire to their homes. This fire is sacred and blesses their home.
Apart from regular campfires, fires are lit upon poles made with naves, birch-bark, tar, etc. The flaming “sun wheels” are set loose to roll down hills.
Throughout the night everyone feasts and rejoices. Then everyone addresses the dawn, the rising Sun and delight in Her dancing. – Inija Trinkuniene, Head Priestess (Talking about the summer solstice)
Clothing: Traditional Baltic attire is optional.
Below is a video from the 2012 Holy Day of Rasa Festival in Verkiai Park, Vilnius, Lithuania
Please note: this event is not run by The Spiritual Sun. Please contact the organizers directly or visit their website if you would like more details about this event.