Lada. A Slavic and Latvian-Lithuanian deity of fertility and marriage. Her cult was widespread in Ukraine and has left its mark on ritual songs. One of four deities depicted on the Zbruch idol is a woman with a ring in her right hand. Some scholars, including Boris Rybakov, claim that the female figure is Lada. The oldest written references to the Lada cult are found in 15th-century Polish church prohibitions of pagan rituals. In Ukraine the Lada cult is first mentioned in Innokentii Gizel's Sinopsis (1674); she is referred to as a goddess from the time of Volodymyr the Great. Lada's feast, which was celebrated with games in her honor, was part of the spring rituals. Some scholars, such as E. Anichkov and A. Brückner, denied Lada's existence in Slavic mythology and explained the frequent use of the word in folk songs as a mere refrain. But the pervasiveness of this refrain in all Slavic and even Baltic folklore casts doubt on that theory. Some colloquial expressions allude to the cult of Lada: in Volhynia laduvaty means to conduct a wedding, and in Transcarpathia and the Prešov region ladkanky are wedding songs, and ladkaty is to sing wedding songs.

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