In Poland we celebrate spring by the Drowning of Marzanna. It`s a pagan, folk custom that survives in the Czech Republic, Poland, Lithuania, and Slovakia.
Marzanna is the incarnation of the old Slavic goddess of winter, plague and death. The rite involves preparing an effigy, or a doll, in female clothing, and either setting it on fire or drowning in a river (or both).
Today the symbolic folk custom survives, as almost every child in kindergarten and primary school annually participates in the creation of a Marzanna doll. Under adult supervision, Marzanna is taken to the nearest riverbank or bridge, set ablaze and thrown to water as the children sing springtime and witch-burning songs.
We used to do that as kids, but now since we are in our 30s… the beginning of Spring is the beginning of the tourist season and hard work!
When the world goes green, Warsaw is a perfect place to be. Almost ¼ of its area is comprised of fields, parks, green squares and lush gardens, making Warsaw an extremely green city when compared with other metropolis.
This is mostly due to the communist-era urban planning. To break with the past, after total destruction of the city in the second world war, the new regime decided to make Warsaw a modern, open, spacious, green city. There are good and bad results of that approach, but the amount of greenery is something we appreciate in Warsaw.
I remember the first time we realized it, was when we came back from Barcelona, a very densely built-up city. Driving from the airport across Warsaw was so striking – suddenly there was so much blue sky, sun and greenery around us. We love it!
To learn how Warsaw was changing through history, from neoclassical glam of 18th and 19th centuries, through total destruction during the second world war, communist urban planning until recent transformation into a business capital, sign up for Classic Warsaw Walking Tour.
Currently we are running four more guided tours of Warsaw in English: