Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Czech Easter Traditions

This is a late post due to the Raoow! team trip to China.

Last year I went to a Moravian village in Czech Republic to experience a traditional Easter, and I did the same thing this year. On Sunday there is a village wine tasting held in the local "culture house", with a thousand different wines to try, and on Easter Monday groups of boys walk around the village with willow whips and visit various girls to whip them on the ass while reciting a poem. I'm not kidding. The whipping symbolises good health, beauty and youth, though most girls hide in their houses hoping the local boys think they're not home. They're usually invited in for pastries, wine and slivovice, and they're also given a decorated boiled egg.

Last year a French friend of mine, Jeremy, came with me. Before Easter we went up to the local castle and met a man who showed us how to weave our own willow whips (see picture). That Monday we walked around the village with a couple of local guys, visiting the local girls, and getting absolutely hammered in the process. There is no way you can avoid it, as drinking each girl's slivovice is considered polite. They tie a ribbon on the end of your whip; some of the hardcore locals having whips so heavy with ribbons that they bend down when held out straight.

This year was a bit more subdued, one reason being the lack of a crazy French guy egging me on. The weather wasn't as good as last year, and I had to drive the whipping team around, so getting drunk was out of the question. Anyway, a good time was had by all, maybe except for the girls.

Living in Czech Republic has made it blatantly obvious that we lack any sort of widespread cultural celebrations in New Zealand. Of course, Maori culture has it's own traditions, but not everyone is a part of that. The general New Zealand population doesn't have traditional food, drink, costumes, dances, or anything of note. Czechs complain that Prague people are culturally lacking, so I suppose these kind of attitudes are universal and relative to each country. Granted, we are a very young country. I just wish our culture had more to it than rugby and Tui beer. I don't think walking around town whipping girls in New Zealand would fly. What a shame.

PHOTO CREDIT: http://www.flickr.com/photos/morskyjezek/ / CC BY-NC 2.0

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