The month of May in the Catholic Church is dedicated to the honor of the Mother of God. After a two-year hiatus, the May Day meetings under the numbers have returned. In the Majdan estate in Zamość, the inhabitants meet every day under a different character to encourage them to sing together.
– The tradition of May devotions dates back to the 5th century, but it was the 16th century that contributed to the development of picnics in opposition to the Reformation and emphasizing the motherhood of Mary – says the biblical scholar, the P. Sławomir Korona. – In 1549, the booklet “May Spirit” is printed in Germany. There, for the first time, May was called the month of Mary. In Poland, the May Day service was introduced by the Jesuits in Ternopil in the 19th century. They sang mainly in front of statues and chapels, without the participation of a priest. Over time, these prayers were transferred to the church, they took place before the exposed Blessed Sacrament and ended with a solemn blessing.
– The picnic is the colloquial name for the May service, which is one of the most practiced folk religious practices today. In the genesis of this phenomenon, he combines elements of Marian devotion and popular piety, which are woven into his spring customs. Therefore, picnics are such a phenomenon – explains Agata Kusto, ethnomusicologist, assistant professor at the Institute of Cultural Sciences, editor-in-chief of a folk magazine.
– We had a break of only 2 years when there was a pandemic. In Majdan Street, people were even singing in 3-4 places, under each cross. To continue this beautiful tradition, we are trying to experiment this year. We will sing every day in a different chapel. Perhaps, among other things, we will mobilize the inhabitants in this way – says Bolesław Kornaś, chairman of the board of directors of the Majdan estate.
– Today, it works not only in the countryside, but also in cities and various places organized by locals and the community. This is an element that seems very interesting today, this social dimension. Ethnographic research also shows that, for example, in the Lublin region, picnics were a form of meeting, relaxation, the possibility of making friends. They had a common matrimonial thread, which was to bring the maids home after the picnic. In addition, there is also a purely aesthetic element, related, for example, to the decoration of figures, crosses and the preparation of this place for a picnic – explains Agata Kusto.
– It was a long way to the church. The townspeople gathered here and sang. Certainly not at 7 p.m., because it was farms, everything had to be done, the so-called tidying up. Only then did you come here to pray – says Bolesław Kornaś.
– We gathered to pray, we met the boys, it was all together. People were leaving the field, they made a mistake and they went to the picnic – remembers the participant of the picnics.
– The element of Marian worship is extremely important here, as it is characteristic of popular Polish piety. Thus, the repertoire that can still be heard today during picnics will refer a lot to the songs after the painting, that is to say those that were sung during the pilgrimage of the painting of Notre-Dame de Częstochowa – says Agata Kusto.
– The main leader always came out to sing later, because we young people had to go wild, catch beetles, frogs, rush with girls and the picnic started, because that’s how young people disturbed – adds Bolesław Kornaś.
– We are happy to meet you. We will continue to pray and ask Our Lady that everything will be fine in our homeland. We have something to ask – said one of the participants.
– At the end of the last day of the picnic, goodbye and, of course, a dance at home. It was the same here. Once upon a time there were crowds, it was full of young people. Now it’s hard to mobilize, literally a few people come. You have to ask to gather a handful of people. Times have changed – adds Bolesław Kornaś.
The May 1859 service includes the Loreto litanies, the priest’s teaching, and the solemn blessing of the Blessed Sacrament.
Majdan estate picnics are sung every day at 7:00 p.m.
AP / ed. Bald