01 May 2011

Czech pagan traditions- witch burning and whips

Last night witches were aflame all over the Czech Republic . According the the pagan tradition, burning a witch on April 30 (a cross-quarter day falling between solstices and equinoxes) symbolizes winter's demise and the birth of spring. I attended the ritual in a small village with a friend who showed me how Czechs celebrate. It began and ended with Slivovice- the Czech national liquor made of distilled plums. In between shots were lots of fireworks, delicious grilled meat, and laughter. The witch we burned was a rather accurate dummy- 10 fingers, wearing shoes, a stuffed bra, a wig, and 2 measly teeth in her Sharpie-drawn mouth. It was a community event- neighbors joined to celebrate together.
I love the unique traditions that Czechs celebrate. Another tradition happened just a week ago for Easter. Easter is celebrated only on Monday. On this special day Czech boys braid willow branches to make whips. They go around the streets whipping women on the behind apparently to promote fertility. After a woman is whipped, she gives the boy a painted egg, chocolate, or a shot of alcohol.

whips and decorated eggs
Czech woman carving eggs
These celebrations are all new to me and have opened my eyes to how different people around the world have unique traditions that they hold dear and pass down to each generation.


  1. Sounds like Dyngus Day to me!

  2. Hi Czech from Ukraine! I see Slavic Gods are living in Czech harts! I want invite your resourse for cooperation!

    Sláva bohům nativní