Monday, April 6, 2015

Easter Monday

There are many traditions connected to Easter in the Czech Republic, but just a few of them are still living in majority of society. And most of those are connected to Easter Monday even the most important day for Christians is Easter Sunday. So, which traditions are still kept even in Czech "atheistic" society?

There are not too many of them but two dominate - eggs coloring and carolling with pomlázka. Main reason these traditions are still popular are children. Children like to color the eggs, they like to create pomlázkas and boys love carolling and they get quite a lot of sweets.

Typical carolling basket - lots of sweets and some colored boiled eggs.

Eggs are symbol of fertility and they were used as a Easter gift in past too. Carollers in the past received eggs, Easter pastry (as mazanec which was baked from the same dought as vánočka), sometimes small bread and so on. Carolling was form of charity - gifts helped families in difficult social situation and were often important in spring fare as its improvement. These gifts were replaced by sweets (for kids) and often alcohol (for adult carollers).

Pomlázka is said to be popular because it's the only day in years when it's allowed to beat women. Well, beating should be just symbolic (and thanks God it's that way in our village). It's said to bring new powers to woman's body, it should rejuvenate her as young willow rods give the woman its powers. Pomlázka is usually created out of six or eight willow rods and decorated with bows.

Our pomlázka from last year.

Traditional food which is still baked or cooked is mazanec, Easter stuffing (farce) and a lamb. Not meat, but lamb baked from quite simple batter (sponge) in a form of lamb. Those are three things which are not missing on table even in atheistic families.

 Easter stuffing - rolls, bacon, eggs, herbs (chives, nettles etc.)

Mazanec

Easter lamb

And just after the carolling, families with sons (as carollers should be boys and men only) often have to solve one basic question: what to do with so many boiled eggs? :)

Eggs colored in onion peels and decorated by wax.

2 comments:

  1. I love all these! (Well, maybe I don't want to be whipped with a willow switch. ;) ) The eggs are beautiful. And when we lived in Germany, we encountered the cake lambs. (Not a "required" bit of Easter, but at least available.) Happy Easter!

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  2. My mother had a tin lamb cake form, and every Easter when I was young, she made a lamb cake! I think I will bring the tradition back for my family!! And I have the recipe for the Easter stuffing & Mazanec that you posted in your blog!! I would love for my family to learn some of the Czech traditions. Sandy

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