What will you and your family be doing today? Some of you, of course, will be attending Sunday Mass but what about the more secular Easter activities? Will you be sitting down to a slap up Sunday roast? Heading into the garden for a somewhat chilly Easter egg hunt (maybe an indoor one this year)? Or just sitting in front of the telly, gorging?
In the Czech Republic or Slovakia, you might get a whipping! (But only if you are female…) Legend has it that the women should be spanked with a special handmade whip (a pomlázka in Czech or korbáč in Slovak) to keep healthy and beautiful. Hmmm… I think I’ll stick with chocolate, thank you very much. In some areas, though, the women can get their revenge on the men the next day, by pouring cold water on them. A similar tradition also existed in Poland (Śmigus-Dyngus or lany poniedziałek, meaning Wet Monday) and now seems to have turned into a good excuse for a big old water fight.
The water theme carries over into other countries. In Hungary and many Hungarian-speaking communities, the day after Easter is called Locsoló Hétfő or Watering Monday. If you want an Easter Egg, you have to be prepared to get soaked with water or perfume!
From water to fire in some Western European countries. In Cyprus great fires are lit, with materials often collected by eager small boys. The bigger the better, although this sometimes leads to trouble – it can be a busy night for the emergency services. Part of the custom is to burn a small doll to represent Judas Iscariot. And in Florence, Italy, the tradition of Scoppio del Carro or Explosion of the Cart is carried out on Easter Sunday, when a cart of pyrotechnics is lit outside the Cathedral.
Whatever you are doing this Easter, enjoy!