Marzanna brings us sunshine

The sun shone fittingly in Arbroath on Saturday as a traditional Slavic celebration was held to welcome the arrival of the Spring.

Organised under the auspices of the Make It Happen project ‘Drowning Marzanna’ was this month’s theme for their cafe workshops.

A small Marzanna doll is thrown into the burn beside the bus station

A small Marzanna doll is thrown into the burn beside the bus station

Dr Paulina Trevena, from the University of Glasgow who set up the Make It Happen cultural hub in Arbroath, told the Herald: “We were all very happy to get out of the café and into the sunshine to take a walk down to the Harbour to drown the effigy of Winter, Marzanna.

“We’d been busy since the morning making Marzanna, the doll which symbolises Winter and which has to be drowned to make way for Spring! Our talented volunteer artist, Eva Margaret Brown, along with her helpers made a beautiful Marzanna for us, and another café participant made a smaller one so we could drown two - after all, this is Scotland, Winter really needs chasing away here! We set out from OB’s, a group of Scots, Syrians and Poles, playing music and singing and chanting.

“We were shouting ‘wiosna radosna!’ (joyful Spring!) in Polish and ‘Goodbye Winter, hello Spring!’ in English, and singing ‘You Are My Sunshine’. Passers-by looked a bit baffled but also amused by our procession. Our first stop was Brothock Bridge. We tossed our smaller Marzanna into the water but she got stuck on a little isle! Not part of the plan. Then we continued our colourful procession to the Harbour to drown our big Marzanna doll, which was joyfully thrown into Brothock Water. This time, Marzanna got stuck in seaweed and also refused to swim away!

“However, we are confident both Marzannas definitely got drowned and we have very effectively chased Winter away. It was a fun Spring event enjoyed by all.”

To find out more about the Make It Happen project visit their Facebook page here:

Other pop-up themed cafe workshops have been planned for this year, so far they are scheduled for -

April 22 - Spring traditions

May 20 - Mother’s Day

June 24 - Summer Solstice

Make It Happen Cafe is looking for more volunteers! Interested? Please e-mail: