Sinking of Marzanna - Pagan Traditions of Spring
End of Winter and Beginning of Spring - Sinking of Marzanna (Topienie Marzanny)
Sinking of Marzanna is an old pagan custom. According to some sources "Marzanna" (called also Mora, Morena or Morana) was a goddess which was offered grains after harvest in hope to ensure good crop the following year. According to other sources she was a goddess or death or winter.
The name of "Marzanna" could originate from "marzec", Polish name for month "March" since the ceremony was taking place in March. It could also
originate from the word "marznac" = "freeze, feel cold".
photograph from ceremony of Marzanna sinking, check also another
Marzanna puppel picture
In order to get rid of winter Marzanna had to be destroyed for Spring to come.
"Marzanna" was prepared as a doll clothed in female cloths who was burned
and sunk on 7th of March in Silesia and Big Poland (Wielkopolska) regions.
The other dates of ritual of burning Marzanna is the 4th Sunday of the
Lent (called also the White Sunday, Black Snday or Death Sunday) or
March 21st - the beginning of Spring.
Usually children and young adults took part in the ceremony. Marzanna
puppet doll was walked through the houses of the village with the green
branch of jupiter in her hand. In the evening she was taken away from
the village illuminated by burnt jupiter branches which partly burned
her. The burned marzanna was finally sunk in the river.
This ceremony would be probably long forgotten if not an attempt to
restore old pagan habits in place of Christian tradition by a communistic
government. I remember it very clearly from times when I was a girl
scout, 7-10 years old. Every year in early Spring we made a doll from
old grass, small tree branches and wrap it in some cloths, then we marched
to the river, burned the doll and throw it into the water.
Spring and Easter rituals, and the selection of articles about Pagan
traditions in Poland.
The Church tried to christianize the tradition of Marzanna and replace
it by burning Judah or throwing Judah puppet from the churches' roof
on Holy Wednesday. This tradition is cultivated in some Polish regions,
but Marzanna tradition is known much better all through Poland.
Song, Dance, and Customs of Peasant Poland, by Sula Benet
The Polish Heritage Songbook,by Marek Sart, Szymon Kobylinski
a wonderful book about Polish customs written by Sophie Hodorowicz Knab, Mary Anne Knab (Illustrator). It is entitled Polish Customs, Traditions and Folklore
The SITE MAP contains all articles classified according to topic.