The way Czechs and Slovaks celebrate Easter is very, let’s say.. unique. Just like in many other Eastern European countries, Czech women colour eggs, decorate homes and apartments with various symbols of Easter and spring. They buy chocolate eggs and bunnies for their kids and bake special Czech cakes and ginger breads. BUT, they also get beaten and poured with cold water and give reward for that. Why? It’s a folk tradition! Now let’s compare legends supporting and explaining these traditions and the reality for Czech and Slovak women.
Whipping girls – what traditions say?
On Easter Monday, early in the morning, Czech men meet in groups and visit girls and women in the village. They sing traditional folk songs and whip and spank their hostess with “pomlázka”, a braided whip made from pussy willow twigs. The spanking should not be painful or intended to cause suffering. A legend says that women should be spanked with a whip in order to keep their health and beauty during the whole next year, because willow is the first tree that ‘wakes up’ in the spring and, the fertility and vitality from the branches were thought to flow into the woman during this act. Girls as a reward pour their guests traditional liqueur called “Slivovice” and decorate their “pomlázka” with ribbons as a sign of ‘trophy’. They give them coloured eggs, food and often a money.
Whipping girls – what is the reality?
Your man/brother/friend leaves home early in the morning, gets couple of shots of 50% liqueur during visiting other women and then after few hours come back with his friends to whip you and get some more drinks and food. And let’s be honest, you probably can pretty well imagine a young guy with wooden stick after couple of drinks who is asked to whip gently :)
As tradition says, good woman should thank them, give them eggs she decorated for hours, food she cooked and baked the whole morning and keep joking and being fabulous while pouring some more Slivovice. Isn’t that SO MUCH FUN?
Watering of the girls – what tradition says?
Water is the symbol of life and the pouring of water is a gesture meant to bestow year long health and beauty. In some Czech regions, but mainly in Slovakia, women are poured with cold water in the garden or thrown into close stream.
Watering girls of the girls – what is the reality?
If there is no garden or stream around, they are simply dragged to their own shower and refreshed by cold water (in this case, if they are lucky and fast enough, they can regulate the temperature little bit). The result? Healthy and beautiful- was no woman standing in her pyjamas wet, poured by cold water in the garden at six o’clock in the morning EVER!
The life style magazine Stuff marked Czech whipping tradition as number 1 in Top 10 Strange Easter Traditions in the World. But on the other hand, there is no reason to think of horror scenes that may be happening in Czech Republic during Easter. We take these customs with humor and in general know how to teach our men being gentle – if not on Easter Monday, then the days after:)
And you don’t have to worry when coming to Bohemia Apartments in Prague for Easter holiday! You may be whipped very gently, but for sure not thrown to Vltava River! You can read more about what not to miss during Easter in Prague in here: Ëaster in Prague
Happy Easter to everyone!