There are some fun, unusual and unique Czech traditions we thought you might want to know! Get ready: some of these are truly unusual!
The date April 30th is known for burning witches.
Most people are recreating this tradition in the 21st century, as well, even though there are no witches or other wicked spirits (or are there?). This tradition is an amusing way to tell children the history of their nation through entertaining activities. To “burn the witch”, you have to follow a set of rules. First of all, you need two large sticks which should be tied together, and they should represent the cross. Then, take old clothes, put the straw in it, and link it to the cross, creating a representation of the human.
Meanwhile, people sit around the bonfire, eat sausages, tell various stories, play musical instruments, especially the guitar, and sing songs. After midnight, the witch representative is being brought and thrown to the fire while everyone watches her burn. In some villages, children are burning witches with torches instead of the bonfire. It was believed that once the witch would finally burn, all evil and cruel spirits would leave the city, allowing people to live in peace.
During Easter, people use Pomlázka, a braided whip with twigs.
The word pomlázka originates from the verb pomladit, meaning ‘to become younger’ or ‘to make someone younger.’ According to the tradition, on Easter Monday, young boys go around the village, sing carols, and whip girls on the legs. Nowadays, the tradition is kept to the close family circle. The purpose of pomlázka is to chase away the illness and malevolent spirits and bring wellness and good vibes to the household. Sometimes boys make their own pomlázka based on all the traditional guidelines. However, they are available in shops around Easter for everyone who desires to purchase and experience the whipping tradition.
May 1st is the time when cherries start blossoming and spreading pleasant aromas around the area. This date is also known as the ‘time of love.’
The primary reason why this tradition has a romantic feature is the love poem, which was written by K. Macha. The poem is about two lovers, who reach a tragic ending of their love story. It was written during the era of Romanticism in Czech poetry . On the 1st May, couples visit the Petřín, where the statue of K. Macha is situated. They commemorate the author and his investment in literature by leaving flowers at the figure and spending time among blossoming cherries around the area of Petřín Park. May 1st is also known as a labor day in the Czech Republic. It is an official holiday, so everyone can enjoy a day-off with their loved ones.
During Christmas, especially on the Christmas Eve dinner, people follow a particular set of rules.
Generally, the Christmas dinner consists of nine meal courses, including salads, soups, and karp. There are more than 100 recipes on how to prepare the main dish – karp. While sitting at the table, no one should face the door, the food on the plates have to be consumed fully, otherwise, it should be buried behind the house. Table legs have to be tied with a rope to prevent robberies in the following year and ensure the household’s safety.
St. Nicolas Day (Mikuláš) is held on December 5th.
In this tradition, three fictional characters walk around the streets – Saint Nicolas, the Angel (the representative of good deeds), and the Devil ( the representative of evil spirits). Generally, they ask children if their behavior was good or bad this year. Most of the children read poems by heart or sing carols to get sweet treats from the Angel. Children who did misbehave will be given the coal or potato from the Devil”s sack, but, as you might imagine, it rarely happens.