How does Poland celebrate the arrival of Spring? Posted by Kasia on Mar 20, 2019 in Calendar, Countries, Culture, Nature
It may be 1st day of Spring today…but it sure does not look like it in New Hampshire…
Although I have to admit that days are getting longer and warmer, so there is hope:)
Around the world, people celebrate the end of the dismal winter weather with unique festivals and traditions. Some date back thousands of years and others are relatively new.
Poland celebrates the coming of Spring through the drowning of Marzanna. The Marzanna is a doll made of straw that symbolizes the cold and dreariness of winter. The polish people parade the dolls through the streets making their way to a body of water. The dolls are then set on fire and thrown in the water as a way to mark the end of winter (check out this blog that explains it more).
I have found this video of drowning of Marzanna , which took place in Jeziorzany, a town my mother grew up in!! Check it out!
Marzanna (also known as Morana, Morena, or Mora depending on region) was a Slavic goddess of winter, night and death. Although she is generally referred to as a goddess, some scholars consider her a demon or a high-level witch. She symbolized the destructive power of winter.
Like most pagan deities (pogańskie bóstwa), Marzanna’s myth came about as a way to explain cycles of nature (natura) that were not yet studied by or understandable to the general population, a single figurehead into which people could pour all of their frustrations, fear, and anger about winter, which was truly dreadful for many. Must be the witch’s fault!
Since it was her fault, she had to die so Spring (Wiosna) could come. That makes perfect sense in the pagan world, but what’s remarkable is that this particular tradition has endured to this day, and that it’s largely practiced by children. I remember skipping school on that day, although it was actually “approved” by teachers, so we all used to take a walk to the near by river/pond/lake and drown Marzanna! We took our time few days prior to make the doll:) It was more like a field trip, than skipping school (skipping school in Poland is traditionally called wagary).
Well, my kids were at school today and I celebrated first day of the Spring by going skiing with my husband! It was truly beautiful, Spring skiing day! It will take a while for our snow to melt in Mount Washington Valley, so we may as well enjoy it while it lasts:)
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