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TRADITIONAL EASTER IN SLOVAKIA

It’s that time of the year again when Easter eggs and bunnies invade all the stores and adverts, we eat too many cakes and enjoy a long weekend. While in some parts of the world Easter is celebrated through having unusual meals or even playing special Easter sports, the first thing that comes to a Slovak’s person mind after hearing „Easter“ is „water and spanking.“ What do we mean? Read on and make sure you watch the attached video to get the full picture :)

THE TRADITION

When it comes to Easter in Slovakia, it’s the ladies that need to watch their backs. Why? Because the tradition goes that young guys shall visit every house in the village where they have single girls, they sprinkle them with water and spank them with whips made of willow branches. Please note that „sprinkle“ is a mild word here. Sometimes the guys come with water buckets :)

Slovak Easter: pouring water over girls
(source)

Slovak Easter: spanking girls
(source)

This treatment is always held on Easter Monday and is believed to bring health and beauty to the females. The more guys visit the girls’ homes, the prouder the girls should be – well, women and girls may think differently :) In many regions and bigger cities, water buckets have been replaced with perfumes, a cup of water or a water pistol. However, in some villages you may still see young men, sometimes dressed in traditional folk costumes, who come with rattles and braided whips decorated with colorful ribbons. They take females out of the houses and douse them with buckets filled with cold water. The girls can even end up in a stream, if they live close to one. During this tradition men may sing songs and play the accordion:

The funny part is that guys get rewarded for this action and in return, they receive painted eggs, sweets, money and are invited to dine with the girl’s family. From certain age, the guys are poured a glass (or more) of local spirits as well :) When you live in a village, it is not surprising to see tipsy men on Easter Monday walking from house to house. How lucky the Slovak girls are, right? :D It can be fun when you are a kid (girl).

Kids having fun at Easter
(source)    

Kids having fun at Easter
(source)

But once you get a little bit older (and smarter), you might realize this is not the most enjoyable way of spending your holidays :)

EASTER MENU

Easter preparations begin days before Easter. To be ready for the feast, people bake pastries, cookies and do extensive grocery shopping. Easter menu is always festive: potato salad with mayonnaise, cooked ham, cold cuts and sandwiches are served on Easter Sunday as well as on Easter Monday.  Sweet treats and some good (home made) alcohol can’t be missing on the table either.

Traditional Slovak Easter menu
(source)

Traditional Slovak Easter ham
(source)

YOUR EASTER VOCABULARY

If you grab a newspaper, watch TV or just regularly walk outside in the Easter time, you might want to check the meaning of the following words connected to this holiday – as they are probably going to appear everywhere :)

  • Veľká noc – Easter
  • oblievačka – pouring water over girls
  • šibačka – spanking girls by whips
  • kupač – the boy who comes to water the girls during Easter
  • korbáč – the whip made of willow branches
  • kraslica – a painted, dyed or otherwise decorated blown egg
  • zemiakový šalát – potato salad

While many traditions have died out, Easter Monday’s water and spanking have remained a colorful memory of Slovak folk life. This great Christian holiday has its own magic but can be a night mare for some girls as well – that’s why sometimes they leave their homes for that weekend and spend it somewhere with a little less water. Who would blame them, right? :)

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  • Julie Guba Sickles

    I am American Slovak (is that even a word or description? lol) Never knew of the water and spanking! lol My grandparents were new to America and families lived in Ortutova, Sasova, and Lipova areas before coming to America. We followed traditions , though not the spank/water one! lol Interesting read! My husband seems to like the idea of incorporating this tradition! lol