Siuda Baba. How a tale about a ‘pagan’ Slavic Priestess survived in Polish folklore

‘Siuda Baba’, drawing by Jerzy Panek, 1958.

Siuda Baba, a person appearing on the Easter Monday in only a few villages in southern Poland, is a great example of how bits of the informations about the old religions and customs were carried on by rural communities over the long centuries and how they survived in a form of local folklore traditions.

This custom can be still observed in the town of Wieliczka and a few neighbouring villages, notably in the village of Lednica Górna where it most likely originated from and where it’s still recreated every year on the Easter Monday – the day of Śmigus Dyngus or Lany Poniedziałek (Wet Monday). It’s connected to the old pre-Christian Slavic religion and the Slavic spring rites.

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Śmigus Dyngus, also called Lany Poniedziałek (Wet Monday) in Poland

Śmigus Dyngus, also called Lany Poniedziałek (Wet Monday) in Poland
Wet Monday in Bukowina Tatrzańska, fot. Adrian Gładecki
Śmigus Dyngus, also called Lany Poniedziałek (Wet Monday) in Poland
Wet Monday in the skansen of Łowicz Countryside in Maurzyce, 1980s, via Fotopolska

This day, also called Lany Poniedziałek (Wet Monday) or just Dyngus, is an ancient pagan tradition celebrated in Poland on the Easter Monday, nowadays intertwined with the Christian celebrations of Easter.

It has its roots in old Slavic traditions of throwing water on people in rites meaning to purify them for the arrival of spring. On that day, groups of boys (often in festive clothing) were throwing water on the girls or even soak them completely in nearby rivers and lakes. Naturally, the girls were getting their ‘revenge’ in a similar way.

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Palm Sunday and the symbolic ‘Easter palms’ in Poland

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Tradition of preparing the decorative and colorful ‘Easter palms’ for the blessing in churches on the Palm Sunday (last Sunday of the Lents before Easter) is an old and very important custom in Poland.

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Pisanki – the decorated Easter eggs in Poland

Examples of Polish pisanki, source: Radio Zachód.

Here you’ll find informations about Polish pisanki (decorated Easter eggs):

  • Short history
  • 8 types of Polish Easter eggs
  • Patterns
  • Gallery of Polish pisanki

Continue reading “Pisanki – the decorated Easter eggs in Poland”