Polish Welcome to Spring
Poles look forward to the arrival of spring after the new year, which can be very beautiful and warm in Poland. When March 21 arrives, it is also followed by two holidays. One is quite old and very traditional in pagan times, and the other is officially not a holiday, but students look forward to it greatly in the new year.
The Drowning of Marzanna (Topienie Marzanny)
On the first day of spring, children in the younger grades of the elementary school make large straw puppets with their teachers and other students. Most often they dress it in old rags to make it look like a big puppet. Such a puppet is called Marzanna. To mark the arrival of spring, in Poland such a puppet is drowned in rivers or lakes.
Drowning Marzanna is an old pagan tradition. Marzanna is the Slavic goddess portrayed as a figure representing death, winter, and disease. As a sign of the arrival of spring and farewell to winter, in pre-Christian times such a doll was first burned and then drowned in water, as a sign of farewell to winter. In response to the pagan ritual, the Polish Catholic church tried to end this ritual. However, the tradition has survived to this day. In response to environmentalists’ concerns, today children usually make their doll and walk it around singing songs.
For Example (Polish Song):
Już wiosenne słonko wzbija się po niebie
W tej wezbranej rzece utopimy ciebie!
As the spring sun rises in the sky of blue
in this swollen river we are drowning you!
All household members were preparing to welcome spring. Chambers were cleaned and aired, women baked pies, men lit fires on the hills, boys and girls brought twigs covered with basil, which were used to make panicles (the equivalent of Easter palms). To this day, Polish homes say: spring cleaning (Pl. wiosenne porządki), or general cleaning of the entire house.
sprzątać – to clean
porządek – tidiness
topić – to drown
rzeka – river
palić – to smoke
Truant’s Day (Dzień Wagarowicza)
For sure more people prefer spring to winter. Finally days are longer, the weather is nicer and the nature awakens. Truant’s Day is an unofficial holiday that is devoted to all teenagers from high school and students. The name of this holiday comes from the Latin word “vagari” which means “wandering”(Pl. wagary). Truancy is much loved by young people, as students usually do not go to school on this day, but the day is not officially free from school. Teachers try to encourage pupils to come to school after all. They organise sports events, trips to the cinema or extra-curricular activities.