We were invited to take part in a Polish tradition on Saturdays with Margie's friend, Izabella. Meeting up at Susquehanna State Park, We could hike one of 3 trails, picnic afterwards, followed by a doll burning ceremony called Marzanna. This particular group were all originally from Baltimore and started this annual meeting 18 years ago, even though some have moved further afield into Virginia and DC.
In Poland, the arrival of storks from warmer climates is a sign that spring is on its way and arrangements are made for the drowning of Marzanna, a tradition going back to Pagan times. A straw female figure is made, representing winter, death, cold, and anything bad that the winter has brought. She is set alight and tossed into a river, the 'drowning' representing the end of winter and the coming of spring. I was very much looking forward to taking part in this ceremony but first we had to hike.
There were 3 options, a 1 mile, 3 mile or a 6 mile loop. We opted for the latter although Margie had been hoping for a 10-12 mile stint, even suggesting we went round twice. I looked at her in horror and kept quiet. My opinion was that we needed to be around when we returned for the Polish sausages and we also needed plenty of time to create our Marzanna doll, we simply wouldn't have time to hike additional miles. Even though of course, I would have loved to! Not.
Krakus Deli in Baltimore, a Polish store in Fells Point who make their own bread as well as sausages.
We very reluctantly dragged ourselves away from the firepit and with a forlorn last look at the remaining sausages on the grill, we decided to focus on building our doll. Traditional Marzanna figures are often dressed in women's clothing with handmade wooden beads but we only had natural materials to use so off we went into the woods to scour for anything we could find. We had no real idea of how to build our doll but finding a large piece of bark set the ball rolling.
A link explaining Marzanna in more depth is here.
Here is a superb Polish Marzanna video.
4 weeks ago