Polish folk traditions

In the fourth Sunday of Lent,
called Laetare, White or Black, take place in the rite of destruction, melting or burning effigy called the madder, Morena, death. The figure was the image of winter and death, sickness, evil and torment, harassing people. The ritual was to cause melting Marzanna rapid advent of spring. ¸ combined with the rite of the New Years, that is the eternally Gaika Green branch, which after the destruction of the symbol of winter, triumphantly introduced to the village.

Polish folk traditions around Easter
In Poland, for Palm Sunday, people make or buy palms made of either dried flowers and plants or live plants (like a branch of birch or boxwood) decorated with ribbons, live, dried or paper flowers. These palms, although now celebrate Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem, have even earlier (pagan) roots in Polish culture. They used to represent life, fertility and health.
During Holy Week (the week before Easter Sunday), an important activity was (and is) cleaning and preparing the home. It was tradition to decorate the home for Easter with wycinanki (paper cutouts), pająki (“spiders” – decorations made of straw), and flowers. Any signs of winter had to be eradicated. All waste was burned on a road or in the orchard with the belief that fire destroys what is old and cleanses what is alive.

This tradition of blessing food with water is older than Christianity in Poland. It was connected with the magic of creation, ensuring abundance for the year, and the unbreakable bond between life and death. On the Monday after Easter is Dyngus (Wet Monday), as on this day (usually young) people pour water on each other. This is another pagan tradition that has been kept up. Dyngus was the pagan god of water. The water was supposed to wash off winter idleness and bring health, and the intensity of pouring the water was supposed to ensure plentitude of water for crops. Water in mythology is generally considered a symbol of fertility, as water falling on the ground brings crops. It also has cleansing properties, especially ritual cleansing (blessing, ablutions, etc.)

The 2nd of November called the Day

of All

Souls ("Zaduszki" in Polish) is the special
occasions to pray for our family members and for these that died but are still in purgatory waiting their time to be able to enter heaven. The masses are held in the churches just like the day before. Additionally, the names of the descendants are read by priests during the services and all pray together for these souls. This day is usually gloomier and more hazy and rainy than the November 1st.

Andrew (29 November)

Andrew, this season predictions for girls about love and marriage. These omens were known in all the Polish regions, as well as in other European countries. Despite such widespread prevalence of the origin and customs of these predictions is not yet known. In principle, however, all researchers agree that regardless of their origin, fortunetelling on church. Andrew developed and eventually formed the basis of the Christian tradition. The Catholic Church Holy days. Andrew closing years of his church. Advent begins.

St. Claus (called rather St. Nicolas) Day is celebrated on the December 6th, nameday of St. Nicolas. This is a day when St. Nicolas, in Polish: Sw. Mikolaj, is visiting all kids - some children in person during the evening, some secretly during night. In some regions of Poland only St. Claus was bringing gifts on the 6th of December. Gifts were not given under Christmas tree during Christmas!
Usually it is attached to the bag with candies and it serves as a warning for all kids that if they would not improve their behavior the only gift they will receive next year... will be just a bigger birch and nothing else. But, nobody takes it seriously, although mischievous kids as a rule receive usually bigger birches than the good ones.

From religious point of view Christmas is considered the second important feast (after Easter) but it is definitively the biggest family gathering and reconciliation day during the year in Poland.

The End
Prepared by : Adrianna Belka, Natalia Muszyńska

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