What You Should Know About Easter in the Czech Republic
If you’ve been to Old Town Square or near various metro stops in popular areas of town recently, you’ve probably noticed the colorful booths set up. Sweet treats, crafts, and other items are sold at these stands to promote the Easter holiday, as well as folk entertainment. The Czech Republic celebrates Easter a bit differently than other cultures, and it is widely acknowledged in this culture. Read on to learn more about common Easter traditions!
1. Easter is not only a religious holiday here
As Easter’s roots stem from being a religious holiday, it is common to be thought of without any religious associations in the Czech Republic. Easter to Czechs also means a celebration of the new spring season emerging. Many of these practices involve both Christianity and pagan customs and are still carried out in the modern day.
2. Easter Monday is bigger than Easter Sunday
In many cultures and religions, Easter is commonly observed on a Sunday. In the Czech Republic however, this Sunday is used primarily to prepare for Easter Monday, when the bigger celebration will occur. Sunday is the day dedicated to families decorating colorful Easter eggs, making pomlázkas, and other preparations. In the past, Easter used to be a week-long celebration. Today, Easter Monday is celebrated as a public holiday.
3. What is a pomlázka?
This is something involved in one of the more unique holiday traditions for the Czech Republic. A pomlázka is a hand-made whip or switch that has colorful ribbons on the end of it, which you’ve most likely seen being sold at these festive street markets in town. The tradition originates from men using this device to whip women – but this act of whipping actually means something good. It was intended to keep women’s youth and fertility whole for the following year. Following this, women would add a colored ribbon to the men’s whip and give them an egg. Although pomlázkas are still sold today, they are obviously not used in this exact manner anymore. It now serves as more of a symbol of Czech Easter and it is less harsh in the modern day.
If you’re a fan of baked goods, you’ll love to try this dish that is usually placed on the Easter table. Beránek is a cake-like dish that is baked in the shape of a lamb! The ingredients consist simply of flour, yeast, milk, and eggs. It is now common to add a bit of sweet ingredients such as sugar and vanilla, and many store-bought ones can be found coated in chocolate.
Enjoy your holiday weekend by immersing yourself into a Czech Easter tradition, or by visiting any of these street markets in Prague while they still stand. “Veselé Velikonoce!“ or Happy Easter!
Intern (University of Colorado Boulder)
Hello! My name is Sadie and I am interning for ARCHIP this semester while studying abroad in Prague. I attend the University of Colorado Boulder and major in Public Relations with a Business Minor. My interests and hobbies include hiking, yoga, and travel. I am happy to have the opportunity to intern at ARCHIP and study in Prague!