After one of the coldest winters of the decade, spring is finally on its way.

And while many festivals and celebrations might need to be cancelled this year because of the pandemic, spring is still a great time to learn about colorful Czech traditions and myths.

Easter

easter wooden ornaments

The Czech Republic might be a non-religious country, but that doesn’t mean Easter is ignored. In fact, there’s plenty of traditional Czech Easter traditions to enjoy over the four-day holiday (this year, Easter Monday falls on April 4th).

Prague is famous for its Easter Markets, which may or may not operate this year depending on the lifting of restrictions. During “normal” years, the markets are a great place to pick up painted wooden eggs, handicrafts and Easter sweets like gingerbread.

Even if the markets are closed this year, you can still get in the spirit of the holiday by painting your own eggs (known as Kraslice).

Or you can pick up a braided willow-twig whip to chase away bad spirits. Technically speaking, the whip is meant for boys to playfully “spank” girls, but feel free to whip it in the air no matter your gender in hopes of better months ahead.

Celebrating Easter at home? Pick up some Mazanec at your local bakery. This sweet bread filled with rum-soaked raisins and topped with almonds is the must-have food of the holiday.

Burning of the witches

Free photo: Walpurgis Night

This pagan festival – also celebrated in Germany and Nordic countries – takes place on April 30th. Festivities start early in the day so kids and families can get involved, but it’s the big bonfires once the sunsets that make this holiday unique.

The festivities usually start with a parade through Kampa Island, followed by the burning of straw witches. Don’t let the crazy tradition scare you – it’s actually meant to send away the Winter spirits and welcome the light of spring. There’s food and beer involved too, of course, and plenty of music for the merrymakers in attendance.