After a whirlwind of blizzards and cold fronts, it’s safe to say that Spring is finally here. (At least in the Northwest for now!) Are you so fortunate as to be heading to the Czech Republic this spring? Don’t miss the traditional celebrations of Easter in Prague and in the Czech countryside!
PRAGUE EASTER MARKETS
April 5th-27th, 2014: Come spend Easter in Prague! The Prague Easter Markets run daily from April 5th-27th, 2014 at the Old Town Square, Wenceslas Square, namesti Republiky and namesti Miru.
Visit over 100 stalls with a variety of handcrafted products, wooden toys, Czech crystal, embroidered cloth and beautifully dressed puppets. You will get a chance to buy hand-painted eggs, wooden toys, and Easter switches. Visitors can watch artisans at work and enjoy the festivities. You’ll be able to listen to live performances from singers and musicians, sample a variety of Czech seasonal Easter treats and watch dancers in traditional Czech folk costumes.
CZECH EASTER IN CASTLES, CHATEAUX AND OPEN-AIR MUSEUMS
April 19th-21st, 2014: Looking for a fairy-tale like Easter experience?
We invite you to visit Czech castles and chateaux, such as the Silesian Ostrava Chateau in Ostrava or Krivoklat Castle, which you can get to from Prague by a steam locomotive! You will have a chance to witness the Easter welcoming of spring at Berchtold Chateau or the Easter Fair at Dacice Chateau. Throughout the Czech region you will find Easter markets and craft fairs and people dressed in traditional Czech costumes. Indoor and open-air museums will introduce you to the folk traditions associated with Easter.
CZECH EASTERN TRADITIONS
In villages throughout the Czech Republic, visitors can experience traditional Czech Easter customs and festivities.
The unique symbols of Czech Easter are Kraslice–the hand-painted and decorated egg–and Pomlazka, which is a braided whip made from pussy willow twigs. To this day, boys walk from house to house visiting girls with their pomlazka decorated with vibrantly colored ribbons. As a Czech tradition, men playfully “spank” women on this holiday, an act that supposedly ensures fertility. Visitors young and old receive decorated kraslice eggs, small sweets or Easter gingerbread from the girls and tie a ribbon around the whips. As if the whipping is not enough, a popular custom is to throw girls in a bath of cold water, known as an “Easter dousing”. The whipping and dousing is performed to chase away bad spirits and illness.
TRADITIONAL CZECH EASTER CUISINE
Food connoisseurs will enjoy the traditional Czech Easter fare as the religious holiday is also a celebration of Czech cuisine.
Most Czech people bake cakes in the shape of a lamb as a symbol of renewed life and the victory of life over death. It also symbolises Christ. Among the Czech traditional Easter fare also belongs special Easter stuffing, hot cross buns, Mazanec – Easter sweet bread and beautifully decorated Easter ginger bread.
(photos provided by and content adapted from the official website for Czech Tourism)