< Customs and Rituals
Mara Lishanka


The ritual is performed by maidens and bachelors on Bright Blank Wednesday, which is the first Wednesday after Easter. Mara Lishanka is a ritual doll representing a female anthropomorphic form (a young girl or a bride with the appropriated head cloth and jewellery), which gives the name of the whole custom.
The ritual activities including the songs and dances present the symbolical kidnapping of Mara Lishanka by the bachelors, i.e. to kidnap a girl for a bride. The entire cult complex is related to idea of creating family and marriage. The ritual Mara Lishanka has an additional meaning to induce fertility. According to the folklore perception, the custom Mara Lishanka is a prayer for rain, for protection from hail and diseases. After the songs and dances, the maidens and bachelors go to the surrounding fields and croon. The procession stops at the river where the ritual doll is thrown into the water, which represents some kind of sacrifice to induce fertility.
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