Easter Whipping Stick
Prague Easter Traditions:
Children finish school on "Ugly Wednesday". The following day, "Green Thursday", boys equip themselves with wooden rattles, called "rehtacka". They then form a group and walk through their local village or town, shaking their rattles vigorously.
This walk is repeated on "Good Friday" and then once more on "White Saturday". On Saturday, progress is slowed by the boys stopping at every house and shaking their rattles until they receive money!
On Easter Sunday, the girls and women of the village paint eggs ("kraslice").
As girls paint their Easter eggs, the boys prepare their Easter whips ("pomlázka"), ready for Easter Monday. This is not the kind of whip used on horses, but is made from osier twigs, braided together.
On Easter Monday people get up early. The boys and men set off on a whipping trip through the village.
Boys stop at people’s homes and whip the legs of every girl and woman who live in the house. As if the whipping is not enough, a popular custom is also to grab the girl and throw her in a bath of cold water, known as an "Easter dousing".
Once all the whipping and dousing is over, the girl, strangely enough, rewards the boy with one of her painted eggs. She then ties a ribbon around his whip and he moves on to the next house.
As the boys progress through the village, their bags fill with eggs and the whips become more and more colourful, with many bright ribbons.