EASTER TRADITIONS FROM MY HOME TO YOURS
writter by @juliarecipes
I have always wanted to write down about Easter-European customs for Easter. Most specifically Easter traditions of Czech Republic (region of Moravia and West Slovakia), where I come from. Finally I have a chance, to write down all about it through my blog. It is my childhood, my teenage years, that I spent in Czech-Slovak Republic (at that time Czechoslovakia) and also, because my mom comes from small village in West of Slovakia, I had a chance to witness many of very traditional Easter of Eastern Europe. And let me tell you, each region has very different customs with different meaning. Now these are the customs of West side of Slovakia called Zahorie.
We start the traditions with Green Thursday; which refers to Maundy Thursday in English. This day we eat in my family particularly green food, most of the time it’s spinach. Some people who doesn’t like spinach will opt for salads, green pea soup, etc. If your kids are particularly picky ( as my were, when toddlers), you would have to be more creative with the food. I used to make little mini pizzas with ricotta, when my kids were toddlers, I colored the ricotta with natural food coloring and it looked fantastic. Now they are in elementary school and I am so lucky, that I manage my kids to loves spinach. I buy frozen spinach, already chopped, cook it slowly in saucepan with onion, crushed garlic, some seasoning such as salt and pepper, then I blend it with hand blender until smooth, add a bit of cream and serve it with potatoes and boiled eggs. And why do I serve it with eggs, it’s because this day, should be a meatless day. As well it is a cleaning day, we all try to help mommies to clean their households, particularly the kitchen ( it’s like a spring cleaning). This is a perfect time to get my kids to clean anything, because at the end Easter bunny wouldn’t bring their chocolates 🙂
Then Good Friday signifies the beginning of Easter. In the kitchen, nothing special is happening. I don’t cook much on this day, because it is supposed to be a fasting day, so I prepare some smoothies or cream of wheat with honey for the kids and plus you are not supposed to be in the kitchen at all on Good Friday. As for tradition on Good Friday ,every boy in the village equips himself with a wooden rattle (řehtačka), which is specially made for the purpose, the boys form a group and walk through the village, rattling their rattles vigorously, so the noise can be heard from afar. The meaning of the rattling is to chase away Judas.
Easter Saturday and Sunday is a day of preparations for Easter Monday. Girls paint, color and decorate eggs and boys prepare their pomlázkas!(handmade whip from young branches of a tree). In my family, decorating Easter eggs is a one of the joyful activities for Easter. We dip some hard boiled eggs (preferably light brown once) previously covered with greens or flowers and wrapped in white gaze, then we boil it for 10 minutes in water filled with onion peels ( a lot of onion peals) or black teabags. And of course a lot of cooking and baking. And this year I have decided to make this pastel Easter dessert, these mini Easter tarts. If you would like to prepare it yourself, here is the recipe for Mini Easter tarts.
As a Easter dish, I will be preparing this amazing recipe for RABBIT WITH WHITE WINE AND PITTA-Easter dish , this dish is very common in South of Moravia and Slovakia.
Some people might prepare Roasted duck with dumpling, which is so delicious as well. You might be afraid to prepare a roasted duck, thinking it must so difficult to prepare it, but it is not at all, actually you cook it the same way as a chicken, but a bit longer, because it’s a bigger bird :-). If you will follow my recipe, you can’t go wrong!
To continue with the Easter tradition; Next follows Easter Monday. In Czech Republic and Slovakia, a tradition of spanking or whipping is carried out on Easter Monday. Early in the morning (6am-7am), boys gather together in groups and visit their girlfriends, schoolmates, relatives and spank women with a special handmade whip called a pomlázka (in Czech) or korbáč (in Slovak), no worries it is just a symbolic whipping. In Moravia and Slovakia they also throw cold water or spray with perfume on them. The pomlázka/korbáč consists of eight, twelve or even twenty-four withies (willow rods), is usually from half a meter to two meters long and decorated with colored ribbons at the end.
Spanking is only symbolic and legend says that women should be spanked with a whip in order to keep their health, beauty and fertility during the whole next year. Girls and women then give colored eggs, chocolates or colorful ribbons (in certain regions shot of alcohol) as a way of thank you for not forgetting to visit them.So as you can see, we have a very dramatic traditions, but so much fun is happening around as well. I remember, every time I try to explain how the Easter Monday is going on in our country, all women are traumatized and do not find it OK, that men are spanking the women, but as I said, it is only symbolic way of spanking.
So here it is my Easter tradition in my family, how I celebrate tradition and heritage. I would have love to hear your stories about your traditions on Easter. If you feel like sharing some traditions with me, don’t hesitate and post it in the comments, I am so looking forward hearing from you.
I am wishing you the most beautiful Easter holiday, enjoy it with your family or the closest friends. Happy Easter!🐇🐣