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    Drown that witch already!

    If it is 21st of March and you see packs of kids parading with an effigy of a woman, and then burning and drowning it afterwards, please hold your horses of outrage. They are not some radical activists of the mythical patriarchy, but rather children celebrating an ancient Slavic tradition.

    The ‘drowning of Marzanna’ has been known and practiced in these lands for centuries. This pagan ritual consisted of preparing a straw figure of Marzanna, a goddess of winter and death, wrapped in white cloth, dressing it up in beads and ribbons, and flaunting it around the village. At dusk, it would be taken outside that village, set ablaze, and cast into a river in order to drown it.

    The meaning of the ritual itself, one of death and rebirth, has been lost in time, but the tradition remained, even though the Catholich Church tried to eradicate it at one point in history. In the past, the drowning of Marzanna was performed on the fourth Sunday of Lent, but last century it was fixed on 21st day of March – the beginning of Spring. On that day, you can still spot elementary school pupils, apart from playing truant, drowning the poor wretch with the intention of making Winter finally go away and make room for Spring in all its glory.

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