Catholic Easter and modern Slovakia

Almost four years ago I was getting goosebumps while listening to my Czech friends’ terrifying tales on Easter traditions, during our intercultural exchange meetings as Erasmus students in Spain. It seems that in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, Easter Mondays are a young woman’s worst nightmare. How else would you call being dragged outside your house, thrown water at (buckets of water, to be exact) and whipped with willow branches? My Dracula-style stories of Romanian traditions would never fit in the same category of horror. And if you’re a woman, you know exactly what I mean.

Glad I will never have to live in the Czech Republic nor in Slovakia – I said, expressing my relief at the end of the day. Four years after, who’s laughing out loud? My Czech friends.

The black-humoured story of the young women does not end there. Being doused with water is supposed to help them stay beautiful for the rest of the year and they should be thankful for that. So ladies, in case this horror wonderful thing happens to you, you are supposed to show your gratitude to the… erm… thoughtful men and offer them hand-decorated Easter eggs, alcohol or even money (!)

Last Thursday I noticed that all restaurants offered a spinach dish as part of the meal deal of the day. That’s how I found out, from my colleagues, about the Green Thursday (Zelený štvrtok). And that’s also when I remembered about their traditions and realised that Easter Monday morning was fast approaching. But that Green Thursday I was told traditions are not really kept in Bratislava anymore. They don’t use buckets here, they only use glasses filled with water. Oh yes. Far more convenient *rolls eyes*

Luckily, most of the Bratislava-based Slovaks went to their homes these days. That’s probably why the Old Town was half-filled only by foreigners on the rainy Easter Eve, buying over-priced decorated Easter Eggs (one of which I got for myself, for €3.80) and other souvenirs. And this is why I’m confident enough to plan a Monday out. Check this place tomorrow to see if I survived. Be sure I won’t be too grateful in case the (un)expected happens. If this blog post doesn’t get updated tomorrow, check the local newspapers for the story of a Romanian young woman involved in some murder. I’ll tell them it’s Romanian tradition.

Edit: I survived, nothing happened. Yay!!😀

One thought on “Catholic Easter and modern Slovakia

  1. 😀 I can´t stop laughing, it really sounds funny to listen to interpretations of our national traditions from someone else. It is necessary to explain that this tradition has huge sexual background, and it is only boys´ excuse to tell that they try hard to maintain our health and beauty for the rest of the year. Most of all they want to see almost naked body, which wasnt as easy to see in the history times as it is today🙂 These days boys dont feel so eager to maintain this tradition as there are many other opportunities, you know.
    But I have some great pictures of my sister being completely poured with water from maybe 10 buckets😀 but to be honest buckets are quite ok, just compare it to being thrown to the cold mountain stream or pond, which used to be common.
    However I have never heard about spinach symbolism for “green thursday”, you see, we sometimes are not aware enough of our own traditions. Starting next spring I will keep on serving spinach as a side dish for every Easter.

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