Bizzarre National Habits: Czech's Whipping Women at Easter

Prague Morning

Prague Morning

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Today we are going to analyze one habit from the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Something called Velikonoce, that means Great Nights. And yes, we can confirm, it actually seems a really great night. Let’s go to see why.

During the communism in the Czech Republic many of religious connotations were suppressed, and so Easter started to be seen as an occasion to have some funny time.

On Easter Monday men use to whip the girls’ bottom with special branches, called “pomlázka”. Pomlazka is a kind of a whip composed by osier twigs braided together. Men can travel around the city in groups and go to visit some relatives, friends, and they can whip all the women they want. This thing is called ‘Easter birching’. It’s supposed to be a gentle whip but sometimes it happens that the touch is not so light as expected.

Anyway, the girls have to bear the whipping and they can throw buckets of water at them (if frozen it’s better) and this way the morning become very funny and hilarious.

At first sight, it seems like a sexual joke between men and women, but it’s not. The symbolic meaning is to drive away the evil ghosts and to bring strength and good health to all the women who are whipped.

Before the whipping, men have to sing a special Easter carol, and after the whipping, they receive a coloured ribbon to decorate the willow branches. The more ribbons you collect, the more popular you are.

Women the day before that,  prepare the hand-decorated Easter eggs, called Kraslice. The  Eggs are the more characteristic symbol of Easter, cause it recalls the resurrection and the fertility. Women use to give the best one they have to their favourite guys.

Is it that an equal exchange?  Equal maybe not, but very funny, indeed!

Author: red

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