The Czech Republic is not a very religious country. In fact, we are the second most atheist country in Europe. However, we still do celebrate both major Christian holidays: Christmas and Easter. However, most of us prefer the civil way of celebrating as we love traditions and feasting. Just forget now about cute Easter bunnies and painted eggs. In this blog post you will learn about the most bizarre Czech Easter traditions.
And who wrote this blog for you? My name is Dana. I am owner and guide for Prague Behind The Scenes, a small local business focusing on sustainable and responsible tourism in Prague. Besides guiding, I also like writing about some less known topics related to Prague or the Czech Republic. Today about the craziest Czech Easter traditions and activities. Czechs go beyond your wildest fantasies.
The most bizarre Czech Easter tradition: whipping women with willow branches
Czech Easter is about celebrating forthcoming spring and a new life. What a romantic idea. In fact our way of celebrating the new season and the new life is rather cruel. But fully legal.
During the Easter holidays, men and boys get willow branches and braid them into whips. Such a whip is called „pomlázka“. It´s made of fresh, bandy branches and decorated with colorful ribbons. With such a whip you can actually enjoy quite a lot of fun. But only if you are a man of course because onn Easter Monday men can legally whip all women in the neighborhood. Gently!! It may sound weird, but it’s an old, most common Czech Easter tradition.
The word “pomlázka” (whip) is derived from a Czech word “pomladit” meaning “to make younger.” The tradition says that the fresh willow rods are full of spring energy that goes straight into the body. So we rather stand a little pain and wait for a miracle!
Women are expected to reward men for whipping!
The Easter bizareness doesn´t end yet. Now it´s time for a little reward. Yes, women are expected to repay for whipping. We say “thank you” and offer all guys shots of liquor (usually slivovice = home made plum brandy), painted eggs or various sweet treats. And that´s how it goes every year. This Easter tradition is very common in Czech villages where local guys visit one house after another and whip women of all ages. In the cities people are more conservative and do the Easter whipping only at home. You don´t have to be worry, nobody will start whipping you in the streets or in your hotel.
Pooping lamb – another weird Czech Easter tradition
Finally some fun also for us. This custom is very popular among women. Definitely much more than the previous one. Because “pooping lamb”, believe it or not, is about shopping. The principle of this tradition is to buy and wear something new on the Easter Monday (clothes, shoes, jewelery…) because then the Easter lamb will not come and poop on you. I know it sounds weird and maybe it doesn´t make much sense but that´s what we do here. Go and buy something new. It´s been very common tradition in our family. You don´t have to buy a big or expensive things, just something what will make you happy. After all the whipping – we deserve that! Ladies, pooping lamb is on our side!
When Czechs celebrate Easter?
Easter is a “movable feast” the date is not fixed to a particular day, it moves every year and falls on the first Sunday after the first spring full moon.
Easter in 2022: April 15 – 18
Easter in 2023: April 7 – 10
Easter in 2024: March 29 – April 1
Good Friday and Easter Monday are national holidays in the Czech Republic.