Free family fun to welcome in the Spring

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A traditional Slavic Spring celebration will be making a splash at Arbroath this weekend as part of a multiculturalism project.

The Make It Happen project is running a ‘Drowning Marzanna’-themed workshop to mark the arrival of spring and will be taking place tomorrow (Saturday).

‘Drowning Marzanna’ is one of the monthly themed cafes the Make It Happen project runs in order to encourage multiculturalism.

The pop-up cafes are at OB’s on the Westport run by Syrian and Polish volunteers and provides free tea, coffee and home-baking, an art workshop and crafts for children.

Dr Paulina Trevena from the University of Glasgow has delivered the Make It Happen project in Arbroath and set up the cafes in conjunction with Fiona Mohammden of Angus Refugee Care.

Dr Trevena explained: “The drowning of Marzanna takes place on the first day of spring (March 21) in Poland and other Slavic countries. Marzanna is a woman’s name in Polish but we don’t drown women named Marzanna on the day! We make a big doll, usually out of wood and straw, and dress and decorate her colourfully. Then we take Marzanna to a river, set her on fire and toss her into the water! Why? Because Marzanna symbolises winter and we want to say goodbye to her and encourage spring to come.

‘‘The tradition comes from the pagan times yet it is still very much a favourite in modern-day Catholic Poland.”

A drop-in Marzanna doll-making workshop is running 11am-5pm at OBs, but at 2pm the large effigy will be paraded down to Brothock Bridge and cast into the water.

This is a free family event and all are welcome.