It’s harder to celebrate Easter traditions this year. I hope that everyone reading this is finding some way through the Coronavirus crisis and are staying safe.
So how is Easter celebrated in the Czech Republic?
The celebrations include lamb-shaped cakes, braided whips made from willow twigs, painted eggs, whipping girls and slivovice.
Lamb-shaped Cakes (Beránek)
Cake mix is added to a lamb-shaped mould and baked into a Beránek cake like this:
Braided Whips (Pomlázka)
Young, live willow twigs are thought to bring health and youth to anyone who is whipped with them. An Easter pomlázka (from pomladit or ‘make younger’) is a braided whip made from willow twigs. The finished whip is often garnished with coloured cloth and/or ribbons as demonstrated by these two Czech policemen.
Painted Eggs (kraslice)
Girls decorate eggs ready to give them to boys on Easter Monday. The eggs are real, but with the inside removed using small holes in the top and bottom. Ornate designs are created using wax, straw, watercolours and onion peels. This year’s egg crop reflects the current Czech law that facemasks must be worn whenever you are outside.
Before noon on Easter Monday, the men begin whipping the women with their Pomlázka while reciting this poem:
|Hody, hody doprovody, dejte vejce malovaný. Nedáte-li malovaný, dejte aspoň bílý, slepička vám snese jiný.||Give me a coloured egg, if you won´t give me a coloured egg, give me a white one and get your hen to lay another.|
And as a reward for this abuse, the men are rewarded with a coloured egg plus a glass of slivovice. The result is a lot of drunken men wandering the streets with whips. If they attempt to use them in the afternoon, they are doused with a bucket of cold water.
Czech Prime Minister demonstrates how to safely whip his wife using a long Pomlázka to maintain social distancing
Here Czech Prime Minister, Andrej Babiš urged his fellow citizens to celebrate this Easter responsibly.
Honest Guide bakes a beránek and makes kraslice
Prague based journalists Janek Rubes and Honza Mikulka have a YouTube channel (Honest Guide) full of videos about Prague. They also expose shady exchange offices and taxi drivers. In this light-hearted video Janek explains bakes a beránek and makes kraslice.