Monday, May 28, 2012

Porushka - A Russian Folk Song

Porushka performed by Dmitri Pokrovsky Ensemble

From Wikipedia:

"Kupala and Kostroma" (ru: Купала и Кострома) is a Slavic folk song about Kupala and Kostroma, the mythical twin siblings of Simargl and Kupalnitsa, subsequently renamed to "Porushka Poranya". According to myth, mentioned in the 10th century Book of Koledas, Kupala and Kostroma were born during summer solstice. Having ignored their mother's warning, they ran to the field to listen to the mythological creature, the Sirin. By singing the Sirin distracted the duo and the swan geese abducted the infant Kupala.

Many years later his sister Kostroma was walking along the river shore and wove a wreath for her head. She was very proud of the wreath and boasted that the wind would not take it off her head which (Russian custom was that if it fell off she would stay unmarried). The gods, angered by her boasting punished her by blowing the wreath off her head. The wind took the wreath to the water where it was picked by Kupala, her long lost brother, who sailed by in a boat. Kostroma didn't recognize her brother, and the Russian custom was whoever recovered the wreath would be your husband.

A wedding was arranged, after which Kupala and Kostroma learnt that they are siblings. Kostroma decided to commit a suicide by drowning in the river but the Gods took pity and turned her into a mermaid, while Kupala threw himself into fire. The gods pitied him too and turned him into cow wheat (Melampyrum pratense).


Kostroma, fair and rosy,
Why do you love Kupala?
I love Kupala for his curly little head
And frizzy beard

"Porushka Poranya" has another rendition:

Hey, Porushka Poranya,
Why do you love Ivan?
I love Ivan for curly head
The curls wave to the face
I love fellow Vanya

During the Ivan Kupala Day people used to sing:

Behold a grass flower, the brother and sister
This is Kupala with Kostroma
The little brother is yellow
And the little sister is blue

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