Right now, I'm exploring various myths about Mermaids. Having recently spent a lovely Saturday enjoying a Ukranian and a Polish Festival, I am delighted to now share a Slavic "mermaid" myth--The Rusalkas.
There is a Czech opera about the Rusalka, which shares some similar elements as Hans Christian Anderson's famous story. However, in the opera, it is not the mermaid who dies, but the prince.
The Rusalka are said to be their most dangerous during a festival called Semik or Green Week which occurs on the seventh week after Easter. Traditionally, women would hang ribbons a birch tree as offerings to ward off the Rusalkas and swimming was strictly forbidden during this week. Green Week was also a traditional fertility festival and the birch tree would be "drowned" at the end of the week to bring rains to the fields. A wonderful example of sympathetic magic.
I hope you'll come back next month to find out what other types of mermaids I've encountered in my research. Until then, Blessed Be.
Denise Golinowski is a reader and writer of fantasy and romance. Her newest enovella, Collector's Item, is available from The Wild Rose Press