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John Manke is an active former Bay View resident who is involved in numerous neighborhood organizations, including the Bay View Historical Society, the Humboldt Park Fourth of July Association and the Shore Shore Farmers Market. He believes Bay View has a fine tradition in its past that we do not want to lose in the future.

Polish Custom of " Drowning Marzanna" and Polish Easter recipes

Marzanna was a Slavic goddess of death or winter. Her name is connected to the Polish name for the month of March which is "marznac" or to freeze. Winters in Poland were long and hard, and when the first day of spring finally arrived, people were more than ready to celebrate. And what better way to do that than by getting rid of Marzanna once and for all? And what better way to get rid of her than by burning her? Or by drowning her? Or both?

On the first day of spring, a Marzanna doll is made from old rags or from straw, dressed in an old woman's clothes, and then placed on a pole and carried through the village or city streets. People gather and march behind Marzanna, escorting her as she is carried to the end of the village or to the outskirts of a city or town.  There the doll is set on fire and then doused with water or drowned in a river or stream, as people join in singing and dancing to celebrate her demise. They want to be doubly sure that there will be no chance of having the goddess of winter come back after the first day of spring.

This age-old custom has become popular again in Poland and is most often celebrated by school children and teenagers. It is a part of a rich tradition of folk and religious customs that have survived through the centuries and that today make up the colorful cultural life of modern-day Poland.





This information has come from Glos Polek and the Polish Women's Alliance of America. The recipes inside are in English and are traditional Polish recipes. Read and enjoy this material.


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