Easter in Czech Republic is likely to be different from anything that you have experienced at home. We have put together some Easter traditions that you might find a bit weird. Getting whipped, getting wet, decorating egg shells or eating cake in the shape of lamb - without these it would not be typical Easter for Czechs.
For many Czech women, the Easter holiday is not their favorite time of year. Are you wondering why? On Easter Monday in towns and especially in villages, boys and men arm themselves with a braided rod of willow, known as “pomlázka” and go from door to door to whip young women. Girls are supposed to reward their visitors (koledníci) with eggs, chocolate bunnies and shot of liquor, popular is "slivovice" (plumb brandy). Do not worry, it is all done in spirit of fun. Being whipped is welcomed. According to folk traditions, if a woman is whipped by a “pomlazka”, she will remain healthy, beautiful and fertile in the coming year. And how does this fun end? Some girls spend the afternoon nursing sore bottoms, while the boys nurse their sore heads after too many shots of slivovice. If you feel sorry for women getting whipped, you will be pleased about this tradition: in some regions women get their revenge on the Tuesday after Easter Monday when they splash boys with buckets of cold water.
The most recognizable Czech tradition is painting Easter eggs “kraslice”. Which is popular as a symbol of new life and rebirth. The eggs can be either boiled or emptied before being decorated. There are many Easter egg decorating techniques. Some of these techniques require a certain level of skill. Eggs can be painted, dyed or waxed. People usually hang them between windows or put them in a small basket. If they are boiled, they are mostly given as a gift for Easter carolers, or eaten for breakfast on Easter Monday. There are always leftover eggs, so all types of egg spreads and egg salads are usually prepared the week after Easter. So understandably, eggs disapear from the menu in Czech homes for a while when Easter is over.
Traditional Easter Food
The traditional sweet treat eaten at Easter time is a chocolate or sugar-covered cake in the shape of lamb, "beránek". The cake is made with pound cake batter that is baked in a cast iron lamb mold. It usually gets a swirly coat of chocolate, raisin eyes and nose, and a red ribbon around its neck. When we cook it every year, we always worry that the lamb’s nose or another part of it would stick when removed from the mold. Many families also make "mazanec", which is sweat bread with raisins and almond. Traditional main meal for Easter is roasted lamb, or veal with stuffing and potatoes.
If you happen to be in Prague for Easter, you should head to the Easter markets. There you will be able to observe traditional food being made in front of you and sample local products. Before you go the Prague's Easter markets check our article about them.
Final note from us: We believe that as a visitor, you will avoid getting beaten or wet, but we guarantee you that you will have fun.