This week I have another news for you from the Polski Daily website!
Marzanna is a Slavic goddess of winter and death, but also – of resurrection. The death of Marzanna at the end of winter opposes her to Jaryla, who is born when the warm weather comes.
Marzanna is also the name of the effigy representing the goddess, which has been ritually burnt or drowned during the spring holiday of Jare Święto, to call the spring to come. This pagan custom was supposed to guarantee good harvest in the coming year. Apparently in the times before christianity came to Poland, people believed that killing the effigy of the goddess will make all of the effects of her work disappear as well, so the end of winter and the coming of spring!
The effigy has been made of hay, wrapped in white cloth, decorated with ribbons and bead necklaces. The tradition was that the procession of children equipped with green twigs of juniper in their hands would walk with the effigy around all of the houses in the village. On the way, they would drown poor Marzanna in any water they would find. In the evening, the teenagers would take over. In the light of the burning juniper twigs they would take Marzanna out of the village, burn it and throw it into the water. And then – spring comes! :D