Recorded in many forms including Zielinski, Zielonka, Zieleniewski(Polish), Zelenka, Zelinka and Zeleny (Czech), Zelony, (Russian), Zielony (Jewish), and others, this is a name which is generally accepted as being of Polish origins. It derives from the pre 7th century word 'zielony' meaning green, and may in meaning be cognate with the English surname 'Green'. This has several meanings such as topographical for somebody who lived by the village green, or a nickname for a person who either habitually wore green, or as a metonymic occupational for a merchant who sold the popular lengths of cloth, in what in England was called Lincoln Green. Finally it is also possible that it was a theatrical name. This was a name that would have been given to whoever played the part of the 'Green Man', often known in England as 'Jack in the Green,' at the fertitility celebrations on May 1st, which heralded the coming of summer. Similar celebrations took place throughout Europe, and whilst frowned upon by the church for being pagan, nevertheless survived for many hundreds of years.
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