Czech Easter Tradition
Written by Marketa Cechurova and Marketa Fenzelova
Learn more about Czech Easter Tradition
Easter in the Czech Republic is celebrated in two ways, one being the Christian with observing Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday/Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday.
This time in Czech is known as “Ugly Wednesday,” schools close so that the children can spend time on making Easter beautiful. On “Green Thursday,” the boys in the village will take a special wooden noisemaker (rehtacka) and go through the village twirling them so the sound can be heard far away. This is supposed to scare Judas Iscariot away from the village. This is repeated on Good Friday.
Then on “White Saturday,” it is again repeated, only this time, the boys go door to door using the noisemakers and doing so are given money by the householder the “earnings” are divided among themselves. There are traditional foods prepared and eaten at this time as the Beranek (a lamb cake) rabbit, chicken, and lamb (replaced by the cake). They also make a special stuffing/dressing using young nettles (koprivova nadivka). Also, Judas Buns, Mazanec (a sweet bread made with assorted dried fruits and nuts) are baked as well. A favorite color is red and is visible in many ways especially in the coloring of the eggs that the girls give to the boy/young men on Easter Monday.
The Easter eggs that are painted and ornately decorated each season are the most notable symbol of a Czech Easter. The more ornate eggs are called (kraslice) and it takes a good amount of skill to perfect the art. Geometric patterns are most common, but flowers and snowflakes are also common. Every color imaginable is used. Materials, besides paint, that are used include bees wax, onion peels, straw, and stickers. Easter Monday is the most important day as this is when the tradition of spanking is carried out. In the morning, men spank women with a special small, braided whip handmade out of pussy willow twigs in Czech it is called a (Pomlazka).
The Pomlazka consists of eight, or twelve and decorated with colored ribbons.
The boys and young men go to the homes of all the single girls and young women where they recite a small poem where he asks for a colored egg or something else. He may receive something other than the egg as candy, money or cookies. Young men and adult males may be invited to eat or have a drink as a sign of her thanks to the man. An additional purpose can be for men to exhibit their attraction for a woman; unvisited women may feel offended. Since those spanked were once thought to gain health, beauty, and fertility for the whole year. It is not meant to cause any pain or suffering. This activity ends at 12 noon. If some boys or young men should go to a girl’s or young woman’s home later they might be greeted with a face full of water.
And Easter Monday could never go without a meal prepared from eggs! Eggs are an ancient symbol of new life and rebirth. During the Easter holidays, most restaurants serve spiced beer specialties along with the Easter menu.