Easter in Slovakia

Easter means different things to different people, even in such a small country as Slovakia. Apart from it being a religious festival celebrating Christ’s resurrection, most Slovaks see it as a holiday time and a chance for a family reunion. Although our children only get a few more days off school added to the Easter weekend, we make the most of the given time.

In the weeks leading to Easter, Slovak cultural calendar fills with traditional events like ‘throwing out Morena‘ – a hand-made woman puppet dressed in traditional clothes, re-enactment of folk games, songs and plays, egg painting workshops and much more.

dancing with morena
Morena – the symbol of winter – is being taken out of the village to be burnt at the river bank and thrown in the water.

At village fairs taking place before Easter, you can paint or decorate your own egg, or buy anything from home-smoked bacon to hard spirits to toys and, of course, all sorts of Easter decorations.decorated eggsAlso part of the Slovak Easter is an old tradition of throwing water at girls and women, and whipping them with twisted willow canes. This was once believed to bring beauty and good health to women.

The practice of water throwing and cane whipping was also seen as a sign of sexual attraction from girls’ prospective husbands, who would get a painted egg in return and a shot of home-made slivovica – a famed Slovak spirit.

This would be followed by a feast of smoked ham and sausages, boiled eggs and beetroot salad, all accompanied by home-made bread, pastry and still more booze.

throwing water at girls
Water and willow cane whips are believed to bring beauty and good health to girls and women in Slovakia.

The festive food and fiery drinks have remained to these days, but our young generation has certainly learned new, modern ways to show their attraction to the opposite sex. All in all, most Slovak males look pretty ‘tired’ and wobbly at the end of Easter Monday.

easter traditions
Girls putting ribbons on boys’ willow cane whips and giving them painted eggs as a symbol of fertility.

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