Sacred May Tree - Birch
Birch is perhaps the most beautiful tree in our area. Beautiful and lonely birch standing in the field, and several trees at the edge of the forest, and a birch grove. It is not without reason that she is glorified in poetry and songs; it is not without reason that her painters love to write. This tree is a symbol of the modest beauty of the nature of Russia.
Among many ancient peoples, birch personified the radiance of purity, femininity, light, and the ancient Scots associated it with death. Druids decorated their homes with birch branches in the first month of the year, from December 24 to January 21, and the ancient Romans welcomed the new consul to the board with birch branches.
Many centuries ago there was a holiday of the sacred May tree growing in a sacred grove. The tree was solemnly carried into the village, believing that a powerful deity lived in each of its branches, who was worshiped and expected blessings from him. The May Day festival was accompanied by songs and dances. In England they searched for a larger birch for such an occasion, transported 20 or even 40 pairs of oxen, and a procession of about 300 people accompanied them to the village. A tree was erected in the square, multi-colored scarves were tied to its top and danced around. Merry mummers walked around the houses and collected gifts. In Germany, during the May Day festival, games were organized - they stole someone else's tree and set it up like a trophy. And in Russia, in Pinsk Uyezd, the most beautiful girl was chosen that day, decorated with twigs of birch and carried around the village. After the baptism of Russia, the custom remained to decorate houses with birch branches on the last Thursday before the Trinity, one of the main Christian holidays.
True, it must be added that good spirits did not always live in birch trees. The ancient Komi had legends about "curly" birches, in which an evil spirit lived and did various dirty tricks to man. Such a tree had to be propitiated, therefore sacrifices were made to it. Latvians, for example, treated the stumps remaining after logging.
The birch was called the “tree of four affairs”: the first thing is to illuminate the world, the second is to calm down the cry, the third is to observe cleanliness, the fourth is to heal the sick. And there was the famous "birch porridge", which was tried by many negligent students. According to one version, the scientific name of the birch “betul” comes from the Latin “betuere”, which means “beat, cut.” On the other - from the Celtic word "beta" - birch.
Many people like birch sap, not only a delicious drink, but also a medicine. You can take it only from trees intended for cutting. Otherwise, "birch trees are penniless, but you will know the ruble for a forest."