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.
One of the events of the most mysterious roots held in the city of Kraków (Cracow) in Poland is a festival called Rękawka (pronounced ren-kav-kah), organized on the first Tuesday after Easter on the famous Krakus Mound, one of the 5 historical man-made mounds that you can see nowadays in Kraków.
Out of all religious holidays in Poland the Corpus Christi, movable feast that falls on 11th day after Pentecost (called Green Week in Poland), remains one of the most important and colorful feasts celebrated by the Polish people during spring. Outside of the religious (Catholic) sphere that day has also deep undertones coming entirely from rural customs and rites that survived in the Polish countryside over past centuries almost unchanged. Just as in the case of the Pentecost, the rural traditions link both of these holidays topre-Christian spring celebrations, and are connected to many other customs of old-Slavic origins.
This festivity shows many elements of pre-Christian Slavic spring rituals. Nowadays it’s celebrated in Poland around mid-May towards early June – it is a movable feast that became syncretized with the celebrations of Pentecost over time, which starts 50 days after Easter.
Green Week is connected to Slavic rituals of celebrating the full spring (the reborn nature when the branches of trees already turned green). Its core nature is a form of maintenance of the rhythm of the nature, with magical practices of purifying the surroundings from demons or evil spirits that might have an effect on the process of growth during the spring. Goal of these rituals was designed to boost nature’s fertility, the ability to grow, in a process of preparing the soil, crops and livestock for the upcoming summer season and the later (expectantly abundant) harvest.
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.
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.
Celebrated around March 21st (first day of spring) or on the 4th Sunday of the Lents before Easter, the custom of burning of Marzanna symbolizes the departure of winter and is rooted in pre-Christian Slavic rites that were performed to summon the spring. Originally it was celebrated during the spring equinox as a religious feast of the Slavic pagans, and it survived over the last thousand years despite the huge impact of Christianity and countless efforts of erasing that custom from the Polish countryside.