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Happy solstice!

Gypsy fortune teller Maria Campina burns a broom during a ritual “Sanziene” night ceremony on a lake shore in the outskirts Bucharest June 23, 2011.

It was the summer solstice yesterday — the longest day of the year, and the occasion in many cultures to celebrate life (=light) at its high point. I had written about it last year (in French, sorry ;-)). At the time, I had noticed the picture above, wondering what this broom-burning ceremony meant.

One year later, I still don’t have the answer… but I have found some interesting leads, thanks to this article:

“Baba Jaga is the Wise Woman of Fire. Some Romani/Gypsy families portray her as a phuri dai, the words for grandmother or Wise Woman. She represents the element of Fire and harmonizes with the other three: the mortar symbolizing herbs (Earth), bird legs on the cabin represent Air, and the element of Water flows as a creek between the legs.”

The plot thickens… I really need to find a good book on Romani / Gypsy legends and rituals. Any suggestions?