Czech Easter Folk Customs and Traditions

Czech Easter Folk Customs and Traditions

The most important Christian holidays are approaching!

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Easter belongs to the ancient holidays of the first spring full moon, which is associated with the celebration of the arrival of spring, the resurrection of Christ, and the launch of a new agricultural year.

Traditional customs

In addition to the painted Easter eggs, the osier stick, a switch plaited from fresh willow branches and adorned with ribbons, is a Czech Easter symbol. On Easter Monday boys and men go caroling and symbolically whip girls and women with the plaited osier sticks. According to folk traditions, the whipping is supposed to bring women beauty and freshness throughout the year. In some regions, they also still keep the rattles custom. From Thursday to Saturday boys walk around the village houses making noise with their wooden rattles, thereby summoning believers to church instead of bells, which fell silent during the Easter holidays and symbolically flew off to Rome. After the period of fasting comes a period of true abundance. Some typical Easter dishes are lamb or rabbit meat with nettle stuffing, cross buns from slowly leavened dough or sponge cake lambs with icing. Judases (baked goods) drizzled in honey and divine grace (fried dough coated in sugar) are also great delicacies. And Easter Monday could never go without a meal prepared from eggs! Eggs are an ancient symbol of new life and rebirth. During the Easter holidays, most restaurants serve spiced beer specialities along with the Easter menu.

Decorated Easter eggs

Easter eggs from the Czech Republic, called "kraslice," can be found before and during Easter celebrations in Prague and elsewhere in the Czech Republic. While families decorate eggs according to their own traditions, and many, for the sake of ease, use commercial egg-decorating kits particularly with children, traditionally decorated Czech Easter eggs can also be acquired as souvenirs at markets and in shops. Most Czech Easter eggs are decorating using the batik method, which requires dye to be applied at different stages during the decorating process. Other decorating techniques include removing dye by scratching the surface of an egg to produce designs, decorating the surface of the egg with straw, creating a relief effect by applying wax, or encasing the eggshells in fine knotted wire.

A Traditional Breakfast

The Easter festival is usually celebrated with dozens of various dishes.  It is interesting that each region has its own dishes that can be very different.  However, one is the same for all regions of the Czech Republic – Easter cake (velikonoční mazanec). You can also make it!

Ingredients: 500 g all-purpose flour, 30 g yeast, 80 g sugar, 100 g butter, 2 egg yolks, salt, 185 ml milk, 50 g raisins, almonds, egg whites and almonds for decoration

Procedure: Mix the yeast with a bit of milk and sugar.  Let the yeast rise in a warm place.  It takes about 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, mix the butter with sugar and egg yolks.  Add the flour and a bit of salt and the yeast.  Pour chopped almonds with raisins into the dough.  You can soak the raisins in rum or cognac beforehand.  Knead the dough thoroughly.  Place the dough in a bowl and leave it to rise for about 2 hours.  Then, place the dough on a baking sheet, brush with the remaining egg whites and sprinkle with almonds. Bake for about an hour at 200 degrees Celsius until golden.

Serve the Easter cake instead of bread.  Sliced, served with butter and honey or jam.  Enjoy!