Thursday, April 27, 2017
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Pagan Traditions

Midsummer in Poland

Midsummer At the end of June, at the time of Summer Solstice, when night is shortest and Nature bursts with blossoms and growth, we celebrate the Holiday of Fire and Water, also called Noc Kupaly, Sobótka or Kres.

The name Kupala is an ancient notion which derives most probably from either:
1. taking a puryfing bath at that time,
2. crowds of people coming and feasting together,
3. the green high pole, similar in its symbolic meaning to Maypole.

Read more: Midsummer in Poland


Rękawka or "Sleeve" Festival in Krakow

The Rękawka or "Sleeve" Festival is a tradition that has been celebrated in Kraków, Poland, for centuries. It always takes place after Easter, at the foot of Krak`s Mound, which is one of four artifical mounds in Kraków.

Krak`s Mound, which is the most ancient of all, is situated in the southern part of the city. Legend says that the pagan subjects loved their ruler Krak so much that after he died, they built an enormous burial mound for him, carrying earth in their sleeves (rekaw).

Read more: Rękawka or "Sleeve" Festival in Krakow


Sinking of Marzanna: Pagan Traditions of Spring

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.

Read more: Sinking of Marzanna: Pagan Traditions of Spring


Wreaths of Flowers and Herbs

In Poland more than a thousand years ago single girls wore wreaths of flowers on their heads. Often times in June they made and wore herbal wreaths for the mid summer (midsummer) solstice which they celebrated on the eve of St. John June 22 with the St. John's fires. Each region had its own fires of St. John, but most all ended with the maidens throwing their wreath in the fires. If the burning wreath was thrown in the river and then pulled OT by a single man it might mean they are engaged. These customs are ancient and are not often celebrated in urban areas. I do remember a few years back going to Washington D C and attending a wonderful St. Johns Eve celebration where 100's of Polish Americans made and wore the wreaths and floated them with candles in the reflection pools. It was a wonderful event and one that may still continue.

Read more: Wreaths of Flowers and Herbs


Polish Folk Traditions: All Souls' Day (Zaduszki and Dziady)

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. Who can explain this phenomenon?

The All Souls Day is celebrated by a Catholic Church on November 2nd since the X century.

Read more: Polish Folk Traditions: All Souls' Day (Zaduszki and Dziady)


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