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Foreseeing partners

Across Europe, young women performed magic rituals on Midsummer Eve in search of signs that would tell them about their future husbands and marriages. In Ukraine, they cast their flower crowns into flowing water on Kupala Night, believing that the direction the current took the wreaths would point to where they would find their future husbands. On the same night in a Croatian village, each young unmarried woman would take three flowers, representing three possible husbands, singe them on the midsummer bonfire, and leave them in water overnight; the one whose flower bloomed again would be the one she would marry. In England, according to an account published in 1832, Midsummer Eve 'is the great time with girls for discovering their husbands ... a maiden will walk through the garden at midsummer, with a rake on her left shoulder and throw hemp-seed over her right, saying at the same time: 'Hemp-seed I set, hemp-seed I sow, The man that is my true-love come after me and mow.'

Photo: Mykola Vasylechko (Wikimedia). Ternopil, in the west of Ukraine.