Easter is the spring holiday and the most important Christian holiday. People prepare for Easter for 40 days – they fast. And there are some Czech folk customs people do in the period before Easter. Here are the most popular.

When does Easter start?

On the 21st of March there is the equinox, spring starts. The first weekend after the first spring full moon we celebrate Easter.

Smrtná (Dead) Sunday

Sunday two weeks before Easter is called Smrtná. People made the Death (it´s called Morana, too) – a figure from straw which reminded death. They put on old clothes and throw it into the river or from a rock or they burnt it. And then they could start celebrating and welcome spring. This is one of the oldest customs, we have been celebrating since Celtic and Germanic times.

Květná (Blossom) Sunday

This is the last Sunday before Easter. People take home sanctified sprigs of willow catkins  (“kočičky”)

Kočičky

– they remind palm leaves used for welcoming Jesus entered Jerusalem. Sprigs protect a house and crop. Have a look at a video about Květná Sunday and what „kočičky“ means (you can set subtitles).  (source: Česká televize)

People often send postcards before Easter. Do you know how to write congratulation in Czech? Here is help.

Passion week

Passion week starts a week before Easter. Christians remind last Jesus Christ days.

Blue or Yellow Monday and Grey Tuesday

On Monday and Tuesday before Easter people clean their house.

Ugly (in English Holly) Wednesday

Ugly Wednesday reminds Judas´betrayal – bad, ugly deed.

Green Thursday

On Thursday before Easter, we eat spinach or cabbage or other vegetable and we´ll stay healthy next year. We don´t argue about anything and don´t lend money. Then we won´t argue and we´ll have money the next year.

Christians commemorate the Last Supper of Christ. In the evening „bells fly to Rome“ – there is

Jidáše

silence in each church until Saturday.

People bake jidáše, sweet cookies with honey. Who eats jidáše, he/she will stay healthy.

Big (in English Good) Friday

Christians commemorate Jesus Christ´s crucifixion. Gospel says he died at 3 p.m. That´s why there are masses in churches. Christians fast – don´t eat anything.

White (in English Holly) Saturday

Jesus Christ´s resurrection and the last fasting day. There is silence in churches.

Velikonoční vajíčka

On Saturday we clean and cook and bake. We knit a pom-pom and decorate eggs. Egg decoration has a long tradition in Czechia – have a look at various techniques on how to do it (video, source: Česká televize).

You can also prepare a very easy and good egg spread. You can find a recipe in the cookbook Learn Czech in the kitchen.  And students of Czech show you the whole procedure in this short video.

Boží hod – Easter Sunday

Velikonoční beránek

Jesus resurrected at night from Saturday to Sunday – this is the Great Night and then Sunday follows. In Czech we say Boží hod. We bake and eat Easter dishes (mazanec – sweet Easter bread, eggs, beránek –

Velikonoční mazanec

lamb, dessert). Have a look at the traditional Czech Easter dish – video. (Source: Česká televize)

 

Easter Monday

On Monday men make a pom-pom from willowtree sprigs and go to „beat“ women and girls. Then ladies will stay healthy next year. Women give men a present – an egg. In some regions, men prepare water and they pour over women, somewhere women pour over men. We call it “pomlázka” and have a look at how this procedure looks like – video. (source: Česká televize)

Velikonoční pomlázka

 

And what about you? Do you celebrate Easter in your country? What are your customs and traditions? Write a comment…

You can also read:

Czech Christmas and traditions

 

This article in the Czech

25th March 2021

 

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