to listen to Paola talk about this festival
This is an excerpt from the book Celebrating Women.
There is a full moon. There are bonfires on shore at
both ends of the lake. Thousands of blackbirds circle the water, then
double back, reversing themselves high in the dark sky, and circle again.
Finally, as a bugler plays a song called “Silence,” the
kayaks leave the dock. The girls hold the wianki (flower garlands)
on their laps and extend their arms to each side of the kayaks, holding
flares that shower sparks into the water. When the flares are exhausted,
each girl carefully leans toward the lake and places her wianki
on the water. The beautiful flower wreathes float, their candles
shimmering, making mirror reflections on the dark surface. It’s
as if we are watching poetry.
I say, “As the guard boat followed you to shore, I noticed
that almost all the kayaks were being paddled by girls! How did you
take command from those boys who were supposed to be escorting you?”
Alicja laughs, “We paddle those boats all over the lake all
the time.” Aneta shrugs, “I just said, give me that
paddle or I’ll give you a punch.”