Once again, it’s Easter, a festive time to embrace unique cultures and celebrations. Food, family and fun aplenty can always be found around Easter.
But what’s Easter like in the Czech Republic? How do Czech or families with Czech heritage celebrate this joyful time?
For those of us in the Western world, Easter begins on Good Friday and concludes on Easter Monday with Sunday being the main celebratory. After four days of celebrations, we’re exhausted, full to bursting and have seen enough of our families until the next holiday rolls around. In America especially it’s customary to take part in a church service, acknowledging the holiday’s deep routes established in religion.
So, it seems almost otherworldly to hear that in Czech they celebrate Easter for six days! Beginning on ‘Ugly’ Wednesday, children finish school for the week as they begin decorating and preparing for the festivities. On ‘Green’ Thursday no meat is eaten, with vegetables and fruits being encouraged for the day. During the evening, boys and men run through the street with rattlers, creating noise and commotion, going from door to door and rattling until they’re given money. This traditional act continues through to ‘White’ Saturday.
On Easter Sunday, Czech falls silent as families prepare for the mass celebration on Easter Monday.
And much like the rest of the world, it wouldn’t be Easter without Easter Eggs, however, in the Czech Republic these eggs aren’t chocolate. Families prepare painted eggs and feasts ready for Monday as the holiday comes to a close. On Easter Monday the Czech people take part in ‘pomlázka’, a tradition in which boys and men go from house to house gently whipping girls/women with traditional ‘pomlázka’ whips in an effort to chase away illness and negativity.
The boys/men are then rewarded with painted eggs. In modern times, these traditions are still largely followed, however, in recent times, Czech men have been rewarded with brandy and money rather than eggs. Now by late afternoon, groups of happy men can be seen staggering down the street.
By Jarrod Iacovou