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Slavic Rusalkas

In Slavic culture rusalka is an attractive female demon, often occupying river banks, lake shores, mountains, forests and green fields of wheat. Hence there are water, field and forest rusalkas. Rusalkas were extraordinarily beautiful sensual girls with eyes full of life and love. They often adorned their hair with flowers.

One could encounter them on a moonlit night as they were dancing naked. With their charm, soft voice and a look piercing through the heart they seduced young men, whom they asked riddles or with whom they danced without rest until the poor wretch died of exhaustion. Sometimes the youth met his doom following the rusalkas into water or died tickled to death.

Rusalkas holiday was Pentecost. Is was then that they left their habitat and frolicked around, haunting people in forests and on the roads. It was a time when people made huge fires, had fun, danced and put garlands on water. They avoided venturing into the forest as it was believed that rusalkas celebrated and played there. At that time none would work in order not to anger the rusalkas. They were also given pieces of linen and bread. That night every man was wearing a wormwood leaf, which would repel demons.

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