The tradition of burning or drowning the effigy of Marzanna [Morena] to celebrate the end of winter and the beginning of spring, is a folk custom that survives in the Czech Republic, Poland, Lithuania, and Slovakia. Her names are Marzanna (Polish), Morė (Lithuania), Morana (Czech, Bulgaria, Slovene, Serbian, Bosnia, Croatia), Morena (Slovak, Macedonia), Maslenitsa (Russia), Mara (Belarus, Ukraine), Maržena, Moréna, Mora or Marmora. The rebirth of Kostroma, Lada and Vesna represents Spring.
They are held on the Spring Equinox (20–21 March). The rite involves preparing an effigy in female clothing, and either setting her on fire or drowning in a river (or both). Today this is often performed during a field trip by children in kindergarten and primary schools. This ritual represents the end of the long and cold days of winter and the welcoming of the spring rebirth.
The drowning of Marzanna had of course many superstitions associated with the ceremony: you can’t touch Marzanna once she’s in the water, you can’t look back at her, and if you fall on your way home you’re in trouble. Each year we do the ritual of Marzanna at Elder Mountain but build her at the Autumn Equinox and have her protect the land from roaming shadows and evil spirits all autumn and winter long.
This video of “Burning Marzanna”, its a little long and we put her in the Magical pond. We then hang a Russian decorated Egg, or a symbol effigy of Spring on our life tree afterwards. If you join us next year in making your Marzanna, the instructions are here and let us know your making one: