Saturday, March 22, 2008

Happy Easter

Veselé Velikonoce! Happy Easter in the states, as we prepare to watch Easter Monday in the Czech Republic, under a lot of snow. Thomas and Madelaine are loving the weather, and will get together for dinner and egg decorating tomorrow night. Wish us a stain free evening!
Czechs are aware that Easter has strong Christian roots, however what is celebrated here is much more pagan inspired. I've read and heard many different versions, and like I said we are preparing to WATCH this Monday from the relative warmth of our flat. OK, so things that are similar, chocolate bunnies are eaten by small children, eggs are decorated, and people display symbols of birds and butterflies in pastels to embrace spring. Things that are different, the bunnies are an import and have no relation to an Easter bunny who delivers baskets of goodies on tip toe in the wee hours of the morning, more traditional and available are gingerbread lambs. Have you ever seen a 3-D gingerbread lamb? I have to give the artisans around here credit for trying, but I don't have the urge to cuddle them or bite their ears. They were introduced because the traditional meal here was a whole baked lamb, and I don't think whole lambs have been plentiful in the stores here in a LONG time. The decorated eggs were traditionally gifts, given to boys who whipped girls on the legs with newly blossoming pussy willow, or willow switches tied up with decorative ribbon. Then the boys would throw the girls in the nearest lake or bath, "to get the evil out," and be rewarded with chocolate and plum brandy. My friend told me that in our villages it goes a different way. Attractive young single girls get teased on the legs with the switches, and if they aren't beaten they are considered undesirable, sooo it's a great compliment to be singled out in such a way & thus a present must be given to the boy, and that the GIRL then gets to throw a bucket of water at the BOY. Confused? I am. My friend then went on to explain that really the boys go out early on Monday morning and surface completely drunk by noon all over the villages. Willow switches, eggs, and Slivoce (plum brandy), and drunk people are everywhere and it's a lot of fun for everyone else, but she's not really into it (she's a mom too). There's similar conflicting explanations all over the web, must be all the Slivoce. While I was trying to figure out what this holiday was about I learned that on French Easter, the kids get candy from the chimes of a bell who visited Rome or white horses pulling a chariot of eggs, instead of a bunny. Unfortunately, as much as I want to embrace our cultural experience, I like the USA's idea of a bunny, I like the spring, I like willow branches to remain on plants, I like nice hot showers in the privacy of my bathroom, and so before I go to bed tonight Thomas will have a huge basket of goodies courtesy of his loving Grandparents & parents, I mean the Easter Bunny. We'll share the loot on Monday while watching the Slivoce induced fun, maybe.

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