Easter in the Czech Republic
If you’re thinking about relocating to Czechia or you spent April in our lovely country already, you might be interested in holidays Czech people celebrate. We covered all winter holidays like the Advent season, Christmas and New Year and we also wrote about the specific way Halloween is(not) being celebrated here. What about the most prominent spring holiday though? Let’s explore some of the customs and practices associated with Easter in the Czech Republic.
The importance of Easter in Czechia
Even though Czechia is said to be one of the most atheistic countries in the world, Easter is still an important religious and cultural holiday with rich history and unique traditions. The biggest difference is, however, that Czech Easter is tied more to the folk traditions of the countryside than religious rites. Despite many families merrily engaging in Easter festivities, only a small percentage actually goes to church. For the majority of Czech people, the Easter holiday is an opportunity to visit their relatives or spend a prolonged weekend out of the city.
Czech Easter customs
Easter in Czechia is celebrated with a variety of customs. Eggs decorating is a widespread tradition and there’s not a kid who wouldn’t engage in this fun activity. These eggs are usually painted with intricate designs using wax and dyes and often given as gifts to friends and family or just eaten for breakfast afterwards (provided they haven’t been hollowed but boiled).
The most uniquely Czech Easter custom is “Pomlázka.” It’s impossible to translate this word into English because it consists of several traditions that are unknown abroad. On Easter Monday, boys and men visit houses and sprinkle water on women and girls. As strange as it may sound, they carry a flexible rod made out of wicker which is decorated with ribbons.
Don’t be horrified to hear that this special rod is used for spanking women’s bottoms. It is believed to bring health and beauty and the spanking is meant to be only symbolic. After that, men are given painted eggs and shots of alcoholic drinks. Children are usually given chocolate treats. In some villages, men and women dress in traditional rural costumes and march in a colourful procession through their village.
How you can enjoy Easter in Czechia
If you’re a student here, there’s a chance you may miss Easter celebrations altogether. Easter traditions are not celebrated much in big cities these days and some young people don’t celebrate Easter at all and are just happy for a few free days. However, you should definitely check out Easter markets which are a popular attraction during this holiday season for tourists and Czechs alike.
Easter markets are held in all bigger cities and offer a wide range of traditional dishes, crafts and Easter-themed souvenirs. Visitors can enjoy local delicacies such as roasted ham, cheese, sausages and traditional Easter pastries. Enjoy your springtime in Czechia!
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