Monday, April 25, 2011

Have you been whipped today?

Easter Monday (Pondělí velikonoční) is a day off, as well as the day of the pomlázka!  

In the morning, boys walk from door to door to spank girls on their legs with their whip.  The whipping is rather symbolic, you see.  The Easter whip, the pomlázka, comes from the word "pomladit", which means  "make younger" in English.  It's believed that the freshness, youth and strength of the twigs is passed to the women on this day.  Thus, every woman wants to be whipped in order to keep her health and beauty during the coming year.  Unvisited females may even feel offended, therefore it's almost a duty for all boyfriend and husbands to whip their loved ones with the Easter whip!

The boys accompany the whipping with a special Easter carol, usually asking for an egg or two.  The girls "reward" them with an Easter egg or tie a ribbon on their whip.  The more eggs or ribbons a boy has, the better.

For older boys or men, instead of eggs the "reward" is a shot of alcohol, mostly homemade brandy.  And of course, the point is to visit quite possibly all of the girls in town!  So around noon, groups of happy men can be seen in the streets singing Easter carols and chasing girls. 

But don't think the girls don't get to have any fun!  In the afternoon, they get their revenge by pouring a bucket of ice cold water on any male they wish!

This tradition is mainly practiced in villages and small towns, not so much in Prague.  But everyone in Prague celebrates Easter...girls decorate eggs and bake a special Easter cake in the shape of a lamb, and boys whip their female friends with store-brought whips.  

The moral to the story is this...
If you're a man, don't forget to whip all of the women around you, otherwise their beauty will fade away.  And trust me, no woman wants that!