About the tradition

Update date: 12 December 2013
About the tradition

Traditions, customs and rituals

Regardless of the region, folk customs are mainly related to church holidays. In Silesia people would read the hay (traditionally put under the tablecloth on Christmas Eve) – a pulled out green blade meant success and a yellow blade troubles and worries. In Częstochowa it was commonly believed that if it is a woman to enter the house first on Christmas Eve, the host would gain a heifer, and if it is a man - a bull. On the second day of Christmas, Silesians would go from house to house with a 'horse' or a 'bear' and carol (this tradition is preserved in Milówka, Kamesznica and Istebna). There is a similar custom in Żywiec, where the villagers disguise and walk around in large groups called dziady noworoczne (New Year's grandfathers). Wawrzyńcowe Hudy (literally: the fires of St. Lawrence) were held in the summer, when people would make fires on wooden scaffolds up on the tops of mountains, and young people would run around the pastures with lighted kozubki (small containers made of cones or bark and filled with resin).
To welcome the spring Silesians drown Marzanna (an effigy of the goddess of the winter). There are also many interesting habits in relation to Easter: burning of garbage on the Holy Wednesday, running with klekotki (clatters) on the Holy Thursday to remind the villagers of the fast. Easter palms of Silesia were prepared from willow (with catkins) or hazel branches and decorated with colourful stripes of tissue paper, and in the region of Częstochowa they were made of willow twigs with catkins and adorned with bilberry and white and pink ribbons. Nearby Wręczyce hazel branches and grass were added, and in Ogrodzieniec the palms would also be made of ears of cereal, which farmers scattered across the fields to ensure fertility.