Whips and Witches

1 May

Two popular Czech traditions took place in the past week and we were lucky enough to experience them both.

The first was on Easter. Here in the Czech Republic Easter is celebrated on Easter Monday, not on Sunday in like the US. The holiday is not religious here by any means, it’s more about spring time and painting eggs than anything else. See this article for further explanation.

On Easter Monday the boys go out in the morning (sometimes as early as 7 or 8am) equipped with a stick woven from willow branches. They visit the homes of their girl classmates and friends and sing a little Easter rhyme. They then hit the girls on the legs or butt with their Easter stick. In return, the girls give them a painted egg, or if they’re older (in high school) a shot of alcohol. This goes on until noon when the boys go back home drunk and/or with their loot of eggs.

We spent the bulk of Easter Monday on a bus coming home from Budapest, didn’t get in to KV until 8:30, and missed the morning hoorah of the Easter whipping tradition. But our friend Roman didn’t want us to miss it entirely, so he came over the flat after we got home with two Easter sticks that he had made for us. This is what happened:

The next Czech tradition happened yesterday on April 30, the day of Burning Witches. Czech people get together and make a bonfire and burn an effigy of a witch to symbolize winter going away. (I’m not entirely sure how the witches are related to winter, but that’s the tradition.) We went to a party at Renata and Vitek’s house that was actually a water mill party where a ton of their friends come over and bring  a water wheel/mill that the kids made (with their parents’ help). They put all the water mills in the creek and see how they work, etc. That was unrelated to the burning witches, this year it just happened to be held on the same day. In evening time they started the bonfire and then threw the witch in to be burned:

Can’t say I’ve ever celebrated either of these things before or that I ever will again in the future so I’m glad to have experienced them this year. And glad to have Czech nice friends who helped us experience them.

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One Response to “Whips and Witches”

  1. Ashley May 12, 2011 at 10:03 pm #

    This sounds so fun! I love how different it was. Reminds me of Guy Fawkes Day in England. The Easter whipping tradition is the best though. lol

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