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Monday, 13 April 2015

334: "wet" Monday

I want to write a few words words about Wet Monday, a pagan custom in Poland that exists to this day whereby young girls are drenched or soaked on Easter Monday. The really lucky girls get spanked with pussy willow branches as well! You can read more about it here. And here is a reference to a Smygus-Dingus casserole which also sheds some light on the origins of this unusual tradition. Legend has it that if a girl receives a drenching or switching, she will marry within the year. This somewhat bizarre practice has at its core the pagan spring rite of pouring water and switching oneself with willows as a means of cleansing, purification, and making things right with dingen -- the god of nature. Good old dingen.
My hands are clean (and dry). I didn't drench a single dziewczyna (dyevchina). I didn't drench any married ones either.
Christian Easter was last weekend (3rd-6th April) and Orthodox Easter the weekend just gone (10th-13th April). 
I spent the weekend in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, and if I had forgotten that it was Orthodox Easter I would have been reminded when I saw the collection of decorated eggs on display at breakfast time in the hotel I was staying. It was an old hotel with lots of character and on the floor in my room there was a large hole covered with glass. In the hole were coins and banknotes of varying currencies and denominations. I could only speculate as to how they got there because there were no gaps in the glass. (To either put in or take out!)
In general a great weekend. I was surprised by how much Russian is still spoken there. There were lots of Russian tourists so the residents obviously need to keep their Russian language skills up to scratch so that they can persuade the tourists to part with their cash. I suspect it is a different story outside the capital. It's also advantageous for the Tallinners to speak Finnish as Helsinki is only a short ferry ride across the Gulf of Finland. There are many ferries per day plying between the two countries.
Restaurants and bars are everywhere in Tallinn - in the old town and the new. On Saturday evening I ended up in a restaurant called the Peppersack and after a very nice meal discovered they had laid on some entertainment for the punters - a mock sword fight. I was too slow to capture it on film as I had had too many honey beers by then. Here are a few of the weekend's photos that I did manage to take.










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