Easter, known as Velikonoce, in the Czech Republic is a celebration of the arrival of spring. Celebrated on Monday, not Sunday, Easter has many unusual traditions that may vary depending on the region. Some of the most popular Easter traditions and symbols include:
Kraslice (Easter eggs) – girls decorate Easter eggs using a variety of techniques. The eggs will be given to the boys on Easter Monday.
Pomlázka (Pussywillow) – it is thought that by whipping someone with pussywillow twigs you bring them health and youth. Boys will collect twigs and braid them to create whips, which will then be used to whip the girls while reciting a short Easter poem. The girls reward the boys with candy, a painted egg or a ribbon to tie around his whip.
Lamb shaped cake – a staple of any Czech Easter meal. Other dishes that are common for Easter include potato salad, gingerbread and in many households, slivovice which is homemade plum brandy.
The colour red – symbolising the energy of new life, which is what spring brings. Many people will dye their eggs red or wear a red outfit during Easter.
The warning off of Judas – during holy week, for three days, boys will travel around their village shaking wooden rattles to scare off Judas. On Saturday, the third day, the boys will make their rounds to houses where they will make noise with their rattles until they are given a present.