Burning Witches

Tonight in the Czech Republic is know as Burning Witches. Pretty brutal name right? So, it’s 30th April and the day before Beltane and right there is a clue perhaps to the origin of Burning Witches. What people do is make an effigy of a woman suing two sticks and whatever else they can find and then they burn the effigy on the bonfire while celebrating with beer, wine and food.

Of course, it is a pagan tradition in which the old woman of winter gives way to the maiden of springtime, rebirth and fecundity. What I find interesting is that it is similar to the broader slavic tradition of burning and effigy of Marzanna – the Goddess of winter – usually around the Spring Equinox. In the latter case, the effigy is burned and/or drowned or both.

Either way, the tradition marks the change of seasons.

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