Zielone Świątki - Szreniawa
Zielone Świątki – it is a holiday derived from pre-Christian, pagan rituals, symbolizing the welcome of spring with a fertility aspect (the power of trees) and ancestral commemoration (ancestor worship). Nowadays, it is combined with the Christian holiday of Pentecost.
In traditional folk culture, it was a time for rituals associated with bidding farewell to spring and welcoming summer, as well as agricultural rites. Throughout Poland, it was a common custom to adorn homes, fences, gates, and even floors with birch branches. It was believed that the young greenery and fresh plant juices would bring success to the entire household and yield abundant crops. These rituals were also believed to ward off plagues, diseases, and evil spells and charms.
Animals were also adorned. Cattle were decorated with green wreaths and flowers, and driven to pastures while being smacked with green branches to purify them. These practices were also meant to prevent spells, charms, and plagues. It was also a holiday for shepherds and farmers, hence the parades of adorned animals, races to the pastures, and the lighting of large bonfires accompanied by lively celebrations. Participants danced around the bonfires, and shepherds lit torches from the bonfires and circled their herds and pastures with them. It was believed that these rituals would improve the growth of crops, making them resistant to heavy rain, storms, and fires.
The National Museum of Agriculture and Food Industry in Szreniawa has been preserving and popularizing these ancient traditions for many years. This year’s event was enhanced by the “Wielkopolanie” Folklore Ensemble, which not only performed on stage but also taught traditional folk games and dances to children. The concert program featured dances and songs from the Łowicz region, Rozbark-Bytom region, Spisz region, as well as dances and songs from Eastern Krakowiak and the national Krakowiak.
A parade of adorned oxen and animal-drawn carriages, a sheep shearing demonstration, and the work of a blacksmith were a tribute to the holiday of shepherds celebrated on that day. There was also a museum exhibition dedicated to shepherding in the Tatra Mountains, where visitors could taste sheep cheese. Traditionally, a rich offer for children was prepared as well. At the museum’s stands, they could paint cotton shopping bags, try their hand at weaving, learn the basics of embroidery, and participate in pottery and floral workshops combined with wreath making. An exhibition of sculpture, painting, and graphics titled “Wildness” was also held, featuring works by employees and graduates of the University of Arts in Poznań. Visitors could also taste and purchase dishes related to the cuisine of Wielkopolska, including roasted duck, czernina (duck blood soup), and gray dumplings.