Tag Archives: Easter

Happy Easter 

Happy Easter to all. Easter Sunday is the biggest holiday in the Catholic year following weeks of preparation and transformation in Lent.

Saint Pat’s Church in Parnell

Czech Republic also celebrates Easter Monday with the age old tradition of “schmigrust” or whipping of girls and women with willow branches in exchange for eggs and ribbons.
In Slovak Republic girls are doused with water or colognes.


With joy in our hearts we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. 
However in many cultures around the world it is also the celebration of spring and new life.

We rejoice with nature awakening from long winter sleep. 

Watch for Earth day observation on Saturday,  April 22.

Don’t forget to plant something. 

Copyright  (c) 2017. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Memoir highlights Czech & Slovak Easter traditions

Easter evokes memories

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI-In my memoir “Greenwich Meridian,” I write about Czech and Slovak traditions that I have witnessed while living in Czechoslovakia with a touch of nostalgia. Some of them disappeared along with the old regimes, but most have survived mainly in villages and small towns preserved by enthusiastic small groups of people. The traditions are reflected in festive costumes for the holidays and special events, in music, dance, food, and customs specific to each village and town.

We lived in Zlin, Moravia, which is the central part of former Czechoslovakia embedded in traditions. Both as a child and an adult, I lived and visited with my grandparents in Vizovice, a treasure trove of traditions.

cousin Bronislav Pink
cousin Bronislav Pink
Czech & Slovak Easter kraslice
Czech & Slovak Easter kraslice

Easter celebrations in Czech and some other European countries are longer by one day, and that is Monday.
We have always indulged in lavish preparations for the long Easter weekend. That meant having enough meat, desserts, eggs, and beverages for three days. There were long lines just like before any major holiday. I spent a lot of time standing in lines and listening to what the old broads had to say.
“I am not going to tell him how much I spent,” a woman  wearing a scarf and a fluffy skirt shook her head defiantly.
The other one with an apron over her dress smelled of burnt dough.
I thought, she must have burnt her kolache, a traditional festive pastry with plum butter.
The broad leaned closer to the first one and whispered something into her ear. Then they both laughed, until their bellies and chests were heaving up and down. I learned a lot standing in lines. The longer the line, the more I learned.
So, the culmination of it all is Easter Monday known for its “schmigrust,” an old whipping custom.

Traditional Czech festive costumes.
Traditional Czech festive costumes.

On that day, early in the morning ,large groups of boys and young men head out into the streets with their braided knot-grass whips or oversized wooden spoons decorated with ribbons. The day before, they spent many hours skillfully braiding their whips out of willow twigs or scouring the house for the biggest wooden spoon.
The boys go door to door, reciting traditional Easter carols like “Hody, hody doprovody,” asking the lady of the house for painted eggs. Then, they whip all the present females in exchange for decorated eggs and ribbons. Single women, and girls tied ribbons on top of the whip. I always wondered about the whipping custom, long before I ever set my foot out into the world. One day, grandma Anna finally explained it to me.
“It is supposed to resemble the whipping of Christ before he died,” she said.
“But, grandma that’s evil,” I cried.
Grandma just shrugged, and turned away. Later in life, I knew better than to question a tradition.
The elders in the group were offered shots of plum brandy, usually home made or acquired through bartering. Even family members took part in this ritual. Uncles and cousins were invited inside for coffee, festive desserts such as kolache, shots and meaningful conversation.
On a good year, and especially when I was a teenager, we got anywhere around 100 passionate revelers. Sometimes, I ran out of ribbons. The boys and young men, competing against each other, took pride in the number of ribbons they got. The craft stores had to stock up with meters and meters of ribbons, plain or embroidered. The hens, of course, felt obligated to produce more eggs.

Happy Easter 2016 to all.

Copyright © 2016 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Easter Monday in Czech Republic

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.

image

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.”

Copyright (c) Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

 

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Memoir highlights Czech & Slovak Easter traditions

Easter 2015

Moravian villages  adhere to old Easter customs
Moravian villages adhere
to old Easter customs

Easter evokes memories of Czech Republic

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

In my memoir “Greenwich Meridian,” I write about Czech and Slovak traditions that I have witnessed while living in Czechoslovakia with a touch of nostalgia. Some of them disappeared along with the old regimes, but most have survived mainly in villages and small towns preserved by enthusiastic small groups of people. Festive costumes for the holidays and special events reflect these traditions, as well as  music, dance, food, and customs specific to each village and town.

We lived in Zlin, Moravia, which is the central part of former Czechoslovakia embedded in traditions. Both as a child and an adult, I lived and visited with my grandparents in Vizovice, a treasure trove of traditions.

cousin Bronislav Pink
Cousin Bronislav Pink ready for “schmigrust”

Easter celebrations in Czech and some other European countries are longer by one day, and that is Monday.
We have always indulged in lavish preparations for the long Easter weekend. That meant having enough meat, desserts, eggs, and beverages for three days. There were long lines just like before any major holiday. I spent a lot of time standing in lines and listening to what the old broads had to say.
“I am not going to tell him how much I spent,” a woman  wearing a scarf and a fluffy skirt shook her head defiantly.
The other one with an apron over her dress smelled of burnt dough.
I thought, she must have burnt her kolache, a traditional festive pastry with plum butter.
The broad leaned closer to the first one and whispered something into her ear. Then they both laughed, until their bellies and chests were heaving up and down. I learned a lot standing in lines. The longer the line, the more I learned.
So, the culmination of it all is Easter Monday known for its “schmigrust,” an old whipping custom.

Traditional Czech festive costumes.
Traditional Czech festive costumes.

On that day, early in the morning ,large groups of boys and young men head out into the streets with their braided knot-grass whips or oversized wooden spoons decorated with ribbons. The day before, they spent many hours skillfully braiding their whips out of willow twigs or scouring the house for the biggest wooden spoon.
The boys go door to door, reciting traditional Easter carols like “Hody, hody doprovody,” asking the lady of the house for painted eggs. Then, they whip all the present women in exchange for decorated eggs and ribbons. Single women, and girls tied ribbons on top of the whip. I always wondered about the whipping custom, long before I ever set my foot out into the world. One day, grandma Anna finally explained it to me.
“It is supposed to resemble the whipping of Christ before he died,” she said.
“But, grandma that’s evil,” I cried.
Grandma just shrugged, and turned away. Later in life, I knew better than to question a tradition.

Easter desserts
Easter desserts

Women of the house offered  shots of plum brandy, usually home-made or acquired through bartering to the “schmigrust” groups. Even family members took part in this ritual. Uncles and cousins visited for coffee, festive desserts such as kolache, shots and meaningful conversation.
On a good year, and especially when I was a teenager, we got anywhere around 100 passionate revelers. Sometimes, I ran out of ribbons. The boys and young men, competing against each other, took pride in the number of ribbons they got. The craft stores had to stock up with meters and meters of ribbons, plain or embroidered. The hens, of course, felt obligated to produce more eggs.

For more on Easter desserts go to CJ Aunt Jarmilka’s Desserts on http://jkarmaskova.wordpress.com

 

Copyright © 2015 story and photos by Emma Palova, costume photo by “I love Czech Republic” photo group

Spring equinox

Spring sojourns

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI- Watch for a story on spring sojourns in Venice, Florida on the Gulf Coast, locally in Michigan, and globally in Europe.

Today, March 20th, is the spring equinox. It is called equinox because the length of day and night are nearly equal.

Spring equinox signifies new life.
Spring equinox signifies new life.

It is also the day of the total and partial solar eclipses depending on location, according to timeanddate.com

The first day of spring is traditionally associated with many customs like Easter and Passover. It is also a time for new beginnings and new life. Thus the symbol of the rabbit, a lamb and eggs.

Easter lamb baked like a pound cake with decorated eggs.
Czech Easter lamb baked like a pound cake with decorated eggs.

In many Christian cultures, Easter eggs are synonymous with Easter. Also known as Paschal eggs, these are usually decorated chicken eggs that symbolize fertility and rebirth. They can be quite exquisite, and in many cases are considered an art.

Many Easter related events feature the Easter egg as the central theme. Traditional games like egg hunts, where colorful Easter eggs are hidden for children to find, egg rolling, where eggs are rolled down a hill, and egg dancing, where eggs are laid on the floor and people dance while trying to not damage them are held all around the world.

related links http://www.timeanddate.com

Copyright (c) 2015. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

 

Memoir highlights Czech & Slovak Easter traditions

Easter evokes memories

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

In my memoir “Greenwich Meridian,” I write about Czech and Slovak traditions that I have witnessed while living in Czechoslovakia with a touch of nostalgia. Some of them disappeared along with the old regimes, but most have survived mainly in villages and small towns preserved by enthusiastic small groups of people. The traditions are reflected in festive costumes for the holidays and special events, in music, dance, food, and customs specific to each village and town.

We lived in Zlin, Moravia, which is the central part of former Czechoslovakia embedded in traditions. Both as a child and an adult, I lived and visited with my grandparents in Vizovice, a treasure trove of traditions.

cousin Bronislav Pink
cousin Bronislav Pink
Czech & Slovak Easter kraslice
Czech & Slovak Easter kraslice

Easter celebrations in Czech and some other European countries are longer by one day, and that is Monday.
We have always indulged in lavish preparations for the long Easter weekend. That meant having enough meat, desserts, eggs, and beverages for three days. There were long lines just like before any major holiday. I spent a lot of time standing in lines and listening to what the old broads had to say.
“I am not going to tell him how much I spent,” a woman  wearing a scarf and a fluffy skirt shook her head defiantly.
The other one with an apron over her dress smelled of burnt dough.
I thought, she must have burnt her kolache, a traditional festive pastry with plum butter.
The broad leaned closer to the first one and whispered something into her ear. Then they both laughed, until their bellies and chests were heaving up and down. I learned a lot standing in lines. The longer the line, the more I learned.
So, the culmination of it all is Easter Monday known for its “schmigrust,” an old whipping custom.

Traditional Czech festive costumes.
Traditional Czech festive costumes.

On that day, early in the morning ,large groups of boys and young men head out into the streets with their braided knot-grass whips or oversized wooden spoons decorated with ribbons. The day before, they spent many hours skillfully braiding their whips out of willow twigs or scouring the house for the biggest wooden spoon.
The boys go door to door, reciting traditional Easter carols like “Hody, hody doprovody,” asking the lady of the house for painted eggs. Then, they whip all the present females in exchange for decorated eggs and ribbons. Single women, and girls tied ribbons on top of the whip. I always wondered about the whipping custom, long before I ever set my foot out into the world. One day, grandma Anna finally explained it to me.
“It is supposed to resemble the whipping of Christ before he died,” she said.
“But, grandma that’s evil,” I cried.
Grandma just shrugged, and turned away. Later in life, I knew better than to question a tradition.
The elders in the group were offered shots of plum brandy, usually home made or acquired through bartering. Even family members took part in this ritual. Uncles and cousins were invited inside for coffee, festive desserts such as kolache, shots and meaningful conversation.
On a good year, and especially when I was a teenager, we got anywhere around 100 passionate revelers. Sometimes, I ran out of ribbons. The boys and young men, competing against each other, took pride in the number of ribbons they got. The craft stores had to stock up with meters and meters of ribbons, plain or embroidered. The hens, of course, felt obligated to produce more eggs.

Copyright © 2015 story and photos by Emma Palova