Easter in the Czech Republic is a mixture of the pagan and religious which makes for a wonderful mix of traditions not seen in Western Europe.
Long before Easter became a symbol of the resurrection of Christ from the grave, it was a time of year when people celebrated the coming of spring and gave thanks to their pagan Gods. Nowadays, although there is still the religious element to Easter, some ancient traditions are still practiced on Easter Monday. The most well known tradition is that of the painting of eggs. Unlike Western Europe and other parts of the world, the Czech Republic does not associate large chocolate eggs with Easter. Instead they decorate real eggs and use them as gifts and decorations around the house. Every fun-loving child and adult might spend hours hand painting hard boiled eggs in anticipation of yet another quirky Easter tradition.
That is the tradition of men and boys roaming the neighbourhoods in search of women and visiting female friends and relatives with the intent of beating them with a stick! This stick, known as a pomlaska is often cheerfully decorated with coloured ribbons. The tradition is that the men beat the women with the pomlaska in order to keep them healthy and young for the coming year. The women show their gratefulness for such a blessing by rewarding their aggressors with their painstakingly hand-painted eggs! The eggs are usually hard boiled but these days the boys might receive small chocolate ones, and the men who visit female friends and relatives often get a little shot ofslivovice, the stomach warming Czech plumb brandy.