Ethnic traditions

Zielone Świątki, so-called Green Week celebrated on Pentecost

EUROPE RENAISSANCE NEEDS SPONSORS: Without donations, we work for nothing: would you? Contact euroman_uk@yahoo.co.uk for details. You can also help by shopping at our online bookstore and encouraging others to do so. www.mikewalshwritingservices.wordpress.com

Cottages decorated for the Green Week. Photos © Museum of Mazovian Countryside in Sierpc

The feast of Green Week (Zielone Świątki) is celebrated in Poland around mid-May towards early June – it’s syncretized with the movable celebrations of Pentecost that starts 50 days after Easter. These festivities show many elements of pre-Christian Slavic spring rituals. 2021 date: May 23 / June 20 (Eastern).

Green Week is connected to Slavic rituals of celebrating the full spring and the reborn greenery (the nature fully reborn after winter) after all the tree branches had 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 further process of growth towards the end of spring. Goal of these rituals was designed to boost nature’s fertility, the ability to grow, and to prepare the soil, crops and livestock for the upcoming summer season and the later (expectantly abundant) harvest.

Birch-tree is particularly important in these celebrations, considered one of the most sacred trees in the Polish folklore (more about it in Polish here). It’s a symbol connected to ancient female aspects of the universe, regarded a symbol of fertility, youth and of powerful life. Birch-tree was very often used in old-Slavic rituals, particularly those performed by women who asked for vital powers, fertility and for a good start of a vegetation cycle or strenght in the natural cycles of a female body. Usage of the birch-tree in the Polish rural customs is extremely wide, and has no match among other trees.

Old cottage in the region of Tymbark. Photo © tymbark.in
Cattle adorned with birch during the Green Week in Podegrodzie, Poland. Photo © Gminny Ośrodek Kultury w Podegrodziu

Customs connected to the Green Week celebrated by the Polish people included for example:

  • adorning houses, pathways and shrines with green branches (particularly of the birch-tree), herbs and flowers
  • sweeping floors with a green birch-tree branch to ‘purify’ it
  • scattering sweet flag / calamus on floors as a protective barrier
  • adorning cattle with flowers and incensing them with sacred smoke (more about it here)
  • rolling eggs around cattle’s sides in rituals of protection and of boosting the fertility (same ritual was performed for humans)
  • burning bonfires around which joyful celebrations with dances and singing were organized
  • walking with torches around crop fields to get rid of evil spirits and demons
  • walking with so-called ‘gaik’ or ‘maik’ (branches decorated with flowers and ribbons, held on a long stick) – you can read more about it here

…and so on. Many regions have their own partly-unique customs or games connected to the Green Week. Some of the customs survived only locally or are recreated only by folklore or ethnography organizations. Moreover, some similar elements can be found in rural customs of not only Pentecost but also of the Corpus Christi – both these Christian holidays in Poland had been syncretized with certain old-Slavic spring rituals dated to a Slavic ‘full-spring’ festival over the past centuries.

Procession with cattle in Szraniewo, Poland. Photo © Jolanta Paczkowska
Bonfire and walking with torches in Rabka. Photos © rabka.pl
Green Week in region of Urzecze, which has old rafting traditions. Photo by ciekawesciezki.pl

Originally the rituals were linked to the Slavic festival called Stado (literally: ‘Herd’) – such name of ‘pagan’ festivities still celebrated on the Polish countryside was described in 15th-century manuscripts (Długosz’ Chronicle and a few suviving sermons). In the mentioned chronicle Stado is described as a feast organized in honor of the Slavic gods, and accompanied by songs, dances and sport activities. According to later documents, this feast was eventually ‘Christianized’ only in 16th or 17th century, however its pre-Christian elements are still alive in Poland nowadays, mostly detached from their original meaning. Informations about analogous Slavic spring feasts can be found for example in the medieval chronicle of Cosmas of Prague that describes a very similar feast celebrated by the early Czech people, dedicated also to ancestors, or in the sources mentioning the so-called Green Week or Rusalki Week that is celebrated among the East Slavs around the same time.

The Polish name ‘Zielone Świątki’ survived only in the traditions of the countryside and was eventually adopted by the Christian church as a synonym of Pentecost in attempts of erasing its separate nature. Usage of the word ‘świątki’ there is extremely interesting and doesn’t occur in any other name of Polish holidays. In the traditions of the Polish contryside this word is used only to describe sacred wooden sculptures, which are created locally by self-taught folk artists. These sacred sculptures show mostly Christian religious figures nowadays (most often it’s the Holy Mother or the Pensive Christ), but many ethnographers agree that they rather resemble old-Slavic ‘pagan’ sculptures in their shape and forms of adoration. Such ‘świątki’ are usually placed in wayside shrines or inside hollows in trees along rural pathways and roads, and very often ‘protect’ crossroads that have a deep sacred meaning in the Polish folklore and where both divination and invocations were uttered (read more: Polish folk beliefs). In a way, considering also the surviving informations about the Stado festival, the original meaning of Zielone (Green) Świątki could be then interpreted literally as a festivity dedicated to sacred sculptures (this is, the old-Slavic gods) that are turning green during spring (being decorated with green and blooming branches).

Rituals of clear old-Slavic origins found in the rural Green Week customs became incorporated into spring celebrations of Stado by Rodnovers (modern believers of the Slavic Native Faith). Source

Birch-tree branch prepared for ‘cleansing’ swiping during the Green Week. Photo by trzyzrodla.blogspot.com

PLEASE: We can only bring these vital stories to public notice if we receive financial support. Please contact Michael Walsh at euroman_uk@yahoo.co.uk

Think your friends would be interested? Share or reblog this story!

MICHAEL WALSH is a journalist, broadcaster and the author of RISE OF THE SUN WHEELEUROPE ARISE TROTSKY’S WHITE NEGROESMEGACAUST,  DEATH OF A CITYWITNESS TO HISTORY, THE BUSINESS BOOSTERTHE FIFTH COLUMN VOLUME I and IIFOR THOSE WHO CANNOT SPEAKIMMORTAL BELOVEDTHE ALL LIES INVASIONINSPIRE A NATION Volume IINSPIRE A NATION Volume II , SLAUGHTER OF A DYNASTY , REICH AND WRONG,  THE RED BRIGANDSRANSACKING THE REICH ,    SCULPTURES OF THE THIRD RIECH: ARNO BREKER AND REICH SCULPTORS  SCULPTURES OF THE THIRD RIECH:  JOSEF THORAK AND REICH SCULPTORS ,   SCULPTURES OF THE THIRD REICH VOLUME III Porcelain and Reich Sculptors, The Exiled Duke Romanov Who Turned Desert Into Paradise , THE DOVETAILS , SEX FEST AT TIFFANY’S  and other book titles. These illustrated best-selling books are essential for the libraries of informed readers.

MICHAEL WALSH NOVELS

The revenge of a predator is a city-vigilante epic better than Death Wish A LEOPARD IN LIVERPOOL , 55 lavishly illustrated first-hand stories by a Liverpool sailor THE LEAVING OF LIVERPOOL, Latest Killer-Thriller From Michael Walsh the City Vigilante Supremo The Stigma Enigma , A powerful thought-provoking paranormal romance The Soul Meets, How to form a naughty ménage a trois THE DOVETAILS and SEX FEST AT TIFFANY’S.

Latest Michael Walsh bestsellers: Those who fall victim to the taxman, banks and moneylenders are victims of legalised mugging  DEBTOR’S REVENGE, The Business Booster shows you how to double your profits not your workload THE BUSINESS BOOSTER 

MICHAEL WALSH is a journalist, author, and broadcaster. His 70 books include best-selling RHODESIA’S DEATH EUROPE’S FUNERAL, AFRICA’S KILLING FIELDS,  THE LAST GLADIATORS, A Leopard in Liverpool, RISE OF THE SUN WHEELEUROPE ARISE, FOR THOSE WHO CANNOT SPEAK, THE ALL LIES INVASIONINSPIRE A NATION Volume IINSPIRE A NATION Volume II, and many other book titles. These illustrated best-selling books are essential for the libraries of informed readers.

The author’s books available for purchase by visiting his website BOOKSTORE, and POETRY  links.

We are in debt to our donors who finance the distribution of spin-free real news and fearlessly expressed views.

KEEP REAL NEWS OPEN: Donate by using Western Union, MoneyGram, Ria, registered mail or contact Michael Walsh: keyboardcosmetics@gmail.com or euroman_uk@yahoo.co.uk 2) Follow our blog. 3) Share our stories and 4) buy our author-signed books. 5) Receive free newsletters by writing subscribe to euroman_uk@yahoo.co.uk

BOOKS THAT CHALLENGE, INSPIRE, INFORM Michael Walsh, ‘Writer of the Year’ with a strong global following. Nearly 70 interesting Amazon book titles famed for changing and improving lives. CLICK TO VIEW

www.mikewalshwritingservices.wordpress.com

New stories every day!

EUROPE RENAISSANCE

https://europerenaissance.wordpress.com/

1 reply »

  1. How Great is America? Jim and Diane have something to say…. https://worldtruthvideos.org/watch/america-not-great_1iWl3ttBGBtXJVR.htm

    On Fri, Jun 11, 2021 at 3:10 PM Europe Renaissance wrote:

    > Mike posted: ” Cottages decorated for the Green Week. Photos © Museum of > Mazovian Countryside in Sierpc The feast of Green Week (Zielone Świątki) is > celebrated in Poland around mid-May towards early June – it’s syncretized > with the movable celebrations of ” >

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s