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    Holy Wednesday

    The day before the Last Supper, Jesus dined at the house of Simon the Leper in Bethany. Christians remember that Jesus was betrayed by Judas, a clandestine spy among the disciples. In Christianity, Holy Wednesday is also called the Great and Holy Wednesday, Good Wednesday or Spy Wednesday.

    On Holy Wednesday there was a tradition of hallowing fields so that there were abundant yields. The hosts did so with holy water from the previous year. The liturgy of Holy Wednesday revolves around the figure of Judas.


    Great Wednesday was also a time of cracking down on Judas. There was a habit of making Judas’ cub from straw, in black robes with a pouch into which glass was thrown for the buzz (in memory of 30 silvers). In front of the church, Judas’s cub was beaten with sticks, ridiculed, put on a wheelbarrow and carried around the village. Finally, it was melted or burned. This custom was called the ‘capture of Judas’ or the so-called judaszki.


    Holy Wednesday was also not easy for the housewives, as it was a day of clean-up and preparation for Easter. Both at home and in the yard, everything had to be cleaned, that day the ladies also began to prepare Easter dishes.


    In Silesian Voivodeships, on that day, people burn large bonfires of straw, dry leaves, branches and other impurities collected from bypass (called żur) and fields were ignited. 


    From the campfire, young people fired kerosene or tar-soaked old brooms made from sprigs of birches, called szkrobaczki or just mietły (brooms).


    It is an original custom found not only in Silesia but also in other parts of the country. To ensure a good crop, people ran after dark on a field with avid brooms, exclaiming special formulas such as ‘May the crops rise’. It was banned due to the risk of fire.


    The arrangement of the field and workarounds symbolized the destruction of evil, deprivation and vermin, as well as guarantee high crops. It was also believed that the fire would scare off the witches, who were particularly active on Wednesdays and Fridays.


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