Easter Monday traditions in Czech & Slovak villages
By Emma Palova
Stipa, Czech Republic- Emma & Ella Chavent get Easter whipping with custom home-made whips on Monday. For French girl Ella, it is the first time participating in an age-old tradition. She will tie a ribbon to the whips.
According to most, the lashing does not hurt.
On Easter Monday in Czech Republic, boys and men in villages head out to whip girls and women of the house. In turn for the whipping, they get shots of plum brandy, eggs and treats. The tradition resembles the whipping of the Christ. It is a holiday. Most men make their own braided whips from willow branches. The big whips have 12 willow branches, that have to be soaked overnight in hot water before braiding. They also have a braided handle. The girls tie ribbons to the whips.
At the end of the day, the groups walk the sidewalks with colorful whips. The whip with the most ribbons becomes a token of pride. The most popular girls run out of ribbons.
In neighboring country Slovakia, the men pour water on the women and girls, sort of like the “bucket challenge” here., as well as the whipping.
The cold water signifies health, beauty and purification.
Here is an excerpt from a Globe & Mail article by Slovak-Canadian writer Miriam Matejova:
“My Slovak Easter traditions mixed paganism with blatant gender inequality,” she wrote. “As a naturalized Canadian, I have treasured my ability to choose the traditions I find appealing and disregard those I detest. I have come to understand that it is fine to let go of some pieces of home and adopt a few new ways instead.”
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