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Czech Pomlázka (handmade whip)
A Pomlázka in use; by Marie Gardavská (1871-1937)

In the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and some parts of Hungary, a tradition of spanking or whipping is carried out on Easter Monday.

In the morning, men spank women with a special handmade whip or switch called pomlázka or karabáč (in Czech) or korbáč (in Slovak) or siba or korbács (in Hungarian). If men arrive to women's houses after 12 o'clock, women throw a bucket of cold water on them. The pomlázka/karabáč/korbáč/siba/korbács consists of three, four, eight, twelve or even twenty-four withies (willow rods), is usually from half a meter to two meters long and decorated with coloured ribbons at the end. In some regions the men also spray water or perfume on the girls. The spanking may be painful, but it's not intended to cause suffering. A legend says that women should be spanked with a whip in order to keep their health, beauty and fertility during the whole next year.[1]

In some traditions (for example in Poland) Easter palms or pussy willows are used.[2]

EtymologyEdit

"Wicker whip": Czech karabáč, Slovak korbáč (the standard name for "whip" is bič and korbáč, itself originating from Turkish kırbaç, usually means only 1 particular type of it—the "wicker whip") – Hungarian korbács.[3]

In the Czech Republic, such a switch is called pomlázka meaning "rejuvenator", implying that a female struck by a pomlázka will become younger and prettier.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Easter whips up some Czech traditions". PraguePost.
  2. ^ Silverman, Deborah Anders (2000). Polish-American Folklore. University of Illinois Press. pp. 34–38. ISBN 9780252025693. pp 69-70
  3. ^ Magyar Nyelvőr – Pacsai Imre: Magyar–szlovák kulturális és nyelvi kapcsolat jegyei