Morana, Slavic Goddess of Death
In the Eastern and South Eastern Europe, many centuries ago when people still believed in the old gods, demons and other creatures, a mysterious entity was inciting fear in the hearts of many brave men.
The mysterious entity went by many names. The Balts knew her better as Morė, while most Slavic people called her Mara, Marzanna, Marena or most commonly referred to her as Morana.
Morana was goddess of death, queen of darkness if you like. She was the symbol of the winter and everything that winter brough with it. Hunger, cold, disease and pain. She was also the symbol of the end of the physical life as we mortals know it, so ultimately the symbol of death.
The name Morana originates from the Indo-European root “mer” and “mor” which means “death”.
Morana was the daughter of the goddess Lada and God Svarog. In many Slavic countries or regions populated by Slavic people, she was not known as someone that causes pain and death. In the territory of Kievan Rus she was actually worshiped as a homemaker and goddess of fertility. With time however, Morena gradually transformed into the evil messenger of old age, disease and death.
Check out the video bellow:
Today the tradition is celebrated on March 21st with an interesting ritual.
In the ritual, sculpture of Morana is made out of straw and dressed in white cloth. Traditions vary depending on location. In some rituals, the sculpture is burned and in the other the sculpture is taken to the river, where they symbolically drown it. In a way this is similar tradition as for example Kurenti in Slovenija that chase away the winter with loud bells. The point of this ritual is swift arrival of spring and blessing for the crops in the coming year.