Women gather flowers ... Singers rehearse ... Embroidered vyshyvanka shirts are ironed ... Helpers find chairs, tables, loudspeakers and cables.

Flower crowns

Traditionally, flowers are woven into crowns for young women to wear on Ivana Kupala night. According to old folk beliefs, if a woman throws her crown into a river and it drifts to the far bank, she will marry a man from a village on that side. But if it sinks, that's not a good sign ...
photo: Przemek Karpicki

Gathering the flowers

 'A few days before the celebration we would go around looking for wildflowers, memorising where they were located, and where the best ones were. We would pray to God that they wouldn’t wilt or that they would bloom by the time we needed them to make a wreath. On the morning of Ivana Kupala, we went to collect those wildflowers. My grandma always used to help me; we would make wreaths together.'
                                                                                                                            Lesia Kyrylenko

Sound systems

People from the wider Brighton community also help with the preparations for Kupala. One of the busiest is Phill Minns of Best Foot Music, a local organisation that collaborates with refugee and migrant musicians. Phill acts as the sound technician for the Ukrainian community's many public events, and through Best Foot Music has introduced Ukrainians to local musical communities. He also works on 'Razom' gatherings for Ukrainians and friends at the Rose Hill.