The burning of witches, or a night full of magic and ritual

In ancient times, people believed that evil forces reigned on the Philippian night and that witches flocked to the Sabbath. Therefore, fires were lit in the hills to protect the village from witches.

To be on the safe side, people still carry fern flowers, holy chalk, hosts, and other Christian objects to protect against evil. In villages, crops and livestock also need to be protected.

If there are no green branches in the barn tonight, or if they are not covered with sand, the witches will bewitch everything, causing damage to crops and livestock.

The bonfire tradition is one of the few that has survived to this day. Men establish nice boundaries today. The girls made a witch out of an old rag tied to a broom and together decorated it with a long wreath of dandelions. At night, the border with witches will also light up.

More than 40 percent of the world’s people believe in evil wizards, a study shows


The boy burns the broom and throws it in the air, supposedly to see the witches fly on the broom or knock them to the ground.

The girls jumped over the fireplace and thought hard about what they wanted or what they wanted to get rid of. Then everyone rejoiced together.

Building and felling May

Since ancient times, the tree has represented the guardian spirit of the village, therefore the tree chosen for May Day must be strong, straight and tall too. Spruce, spruce or pine are widely used for this purpose, as they retain their green color longer. But birch is also popular.

The stems may be mostly smooth and flaky. The green top of the crown is decorated with colorful ribbons, scarves, flowers and ribbons made of colorful paper.

A garland made of juniper green and also colorfully decorated still hangs below the decorated top. Mays is held in all villages up to the Whitsun holidays, sometimes into the summer. Until they fall, they must take care of each other, because stealing May from neighbors is a prestigious matter. After all, this is still true today.


Building May

The circled tree is primarily a symbol of spring, but also can’t forget love. That’s why, in some villages, boys also build a small house in front of their daughter’s house. But they must be well-kept girls, and therefore virgins.

Dance parties are also held on May mowing day. They were preceded by walking around accompanied by music and jumping over the houses in front of which there was a gallows. The merry procession gradually increases, the girls gradually join in, until they finally reach the semi-trailer, where they dance in front of a central flower pillar.

Trimmed in May. Old customs are starting to be criminalized in the Czech Republic

Crime story

Beltine Celtic holiday

The history of Walpurgis Night dates back to ancient times, when people celebrated Celtic holidays in our region too. Thus, April 30 falls on the feast of Beltine, at which evening it is necessary to sing and dance as well as undergo a purification ceremony.

According to tradition, a fire is kindled in Beltine to cleanse all living things of all the impurity accumulated during the dark winter and at the same time provide them with shelter for the season to come. The night still belongs to the reign of darkness, the next day already belongs to the half year of light. So midnight is the boundary between the two half years.

So, two fires are lit at night – the distance between them symbolizes the boundary between the dark and light parts of the year. Young people jumped over the fires and others, along with the animals, purified themselves by walking through the fires. Cattle were slaughtered between the fires by the Druids, a custom still practiced among Irish farmers today. The symbolism of the border between the two parts of the year is reflected in the repair of traditional fencing in Ireland, where Celtic traditions are best preserved.

Apart from descriptions of merriment, dancing and singing, reports of some traditional customs have been preserved. Among them were, for example, bachelor competitions in throwing flaming birch brooms into the air, building and maintaining the pylons that have survived to this day, taking a clean bath or at least a symbolic swim in the river, cleaning stables, cutting jiva branches. and swallowing catnip flowers and things. The night of that day belongs to the inhabitants of another world – fairies, elves and wizards.

Holidays for lovers too

A couple in love and engaged go to the woods on a Beltine night. The month of May then becomes a symbol of sexual freedom, sexual initiation and love play.

During this period, trial marriages were said to last for one year and one day. If the union is not successful, the partners simply disband after this period. Moreover, the children Beltine was carrying were said to be very happy. Since then, we may still have the custom of kissing on May 1 under a cherry, birch or other tree in bloom.

The tradition of kissing under the cherry tree


The night can also reveal secret love, including infidelity. For example, a custom still observed in Austria today, called pouring out the “path of love.” Narrow strips of chalk or white sand lead from building to building, and on the morning of the first May, the whole village knows who with whom. Roads sometimes lead to certain people, and the betrayal of disbelievers is common.

Walpurgis Night

Saint Walpurga was born in Sussex around AD 780 and is considered a patron against witchcraft and sorcery in Germanic folklore. The name Walpurga is actually an old Teutonic name for Mother Earth and an old Czech expression for a witch.

Allegedly, however, he was primarily a Christian saint of the 8th century, who in German folk superstition acted as a protector against witches and their spells and supplanted the ancient German holidays of the arrival of spring and the awakening of nature, which were celebrated at night. from April 30 to May 1. JW Goethe also wrote it in Faust.

The origins of superstitions are believed by people in many countries of the world


Take out Morana

In some areas, instead of witches, Morana – the pagan goddess of death – was burned. He was worshiped by the ancient Slavs and Balts. He is personified by winter, his reign ends in spring, so he either drowns or beats himself. However, it is impossible to think of her purely as a goddess of death or as a terrible old woman. She is said to be very beautiful.

The traditional rituals practiced even today are the performance of the Morana and its burning or drowning. Most often, Morana is thrown from bridges or from rocks.

Modern Slavs: those who gave rise to Morana


Camilla Salazar

"Unapologetic social media guru. General reader. Incurable pop culture specialist."

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