Semik(redirected from Rusalnaya Week)
an ancient Slavic ceremony associated with the cult of the dead and the spring agricultural cycle. The ceremony was performed in forests, on river banks, and in cemeteries. Participants wove wreaths, which they hung on birch trees and cast into water; sang special songs; performed round dances; and served special foods.
Semik was observed in central and southern Russia and the Ukraine, usually on the Thursday of the seventh week after Easter. The week was called semitskaia nedelia, Semik week. The Russian Semik week corresponded to “green week,” or Whitsuntide, in the Ukraine, “green week” in Poland and Lithuania, and rusalda in Bohemia and Slovakia.
In pagan times, the Semik was the feast of a wood god, celebrated at the time of year when the new leaves first appeared on the trees. Since it was the young girls who spent most of their time in the forest picking berries and mushrooms while the women worked in the fields, it is likely that the wreaths hung on the trees were at one time an offering to the wood god.
See also Wianki Festival of Wreaths
FolkWrldHol-1999, p. 350
OxYear-1999, p. 645