The tradition in Veliki Traven / May

We meet Lado several times in spring and summer songs.
The girls, who also walked and sang ritual songs in Slovenia around the villages in the period from the beginning of spring to the summer solstice, were once called “ladarice”.

Lada is supposed to indicate a bridesmaid in the original sense of the word. According to East Slavic beliefs, Lada is the wife of the supreme god who created the man from oak, the woman from linden. They breathed life into them. The linden, the tree of the goddess Lada, has heart-shaped leaves. Lada is considered the protector of marriage, lovers, love, beauty. One of her animals is a deer.

Ladarice / Bjelovar, 1928
picture from:

She is also known as the ‘lady of flowers’, the ‘queen of flowers’. Sometimes she wears a sun sign on her chest.
Despite the fcat much is written about her even from the proffessionals, Lada is still a rather mysterious deity. There are more or less theories and not as concrete records about e.g. Perun, Kresnik, Mokoša, Svarožič and others.

We meet Lada throughout the year. In the spring, the young Lada comes from the underworld as an awakening force of nature. Then in lush blooms like a lady of flowers. In summer we meet her at the bonfire, where her main characteristic is a head wreath made of ears of corn, and every autumn she returns to the underworld.
Theoretically, then, we could say that Lada is the original female energy, the companion of the creator god, the original male energy. Throughout the year, Lada manifests herself in different forms, which we encounter as individual goddesses – personified aspects of one force, all the time.
Some also associate the word Lada with “government” (vlada) and no theory is impossible. Lada is considered a bridesmaid, she is the ruling, original goddess. As the protector of law and love, she therefore represents the original life energy that drives the world, without which life would not be possible at all.

Ladarice are well known in Serbia. The ceremony is called the “queens”(Kraljice) that bears the ancient remnant of the cult of the goddess of fertility, the goddess of love.
The rite takes place on the day of the Holy Trinity, which in Christianity is a mobile holiday, according to Easter. This is usually in the month of May.
It is a group of ten young girls, one dressed as a queen, sometimes a king is present. The “queen” sits on a chair while the other girls dance and sing around her. So the queen goes from house to house looking for girls who are fit for marriage.
Even on a summer bonfire night, e.g. in Russia, people sang Lada’s honor, skipping the fire. At weddings, people have always turned to Lada.

As ancient Roman customs were also strongly anchored in our territory, so it is worth mentioning Flora, the goddess of flowers, who was worshiped at the end of April and until 3 May. She was considered the goddess of fertility, spring, youth. The “Floralia” festival symbolized the reawakening of nature. Everyone present was richly decorated with flowers. The sixth day of the festival ended with a hunt, and the ceremony in honor of the goddess was repeated on May 23rd. The Greek equivalent is Kora (later Persephone).

Lada definitely reminds us of the original energy in all of us, which is love. Without love and passion, one cannot truly create or even exist in some deeper awareness. She reminds us of the importance of being aware of its power and its consequences if we do not know how to bring it into our lives.
There is no excess of love. Too little love, however, can cause us many headaches.
If we love ourselves and those that are close to us, our community, we love life. That way we know the gods will love us too.

written by: Irena Petrič (maiden name Urankar)
slvenian version:

the artwork: © Irena Petrič
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