Easter whip

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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, the Easter Whip is used as part of a tradition of spanking or whipping 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). The pomlázka 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.

If men arrive at women's houses after 12 o'clock, women throw a bucket of cold water on them. In some regions the men also spray water or perfume on the girls.

When going house to house, the male first sings a verse relating to eggs and spring themes like bountifulness and fertility, the young woman turns around and the man takes a few whacks at her backside with the whip.[1] The spanking may be painful, but is not intended to cause suffering.

In the past, young boys would chase young girls on the village streets with the whips, and vintage illustrations of people in traditional dress show girls running or hiding. Playful running around, similar to the game of tag, still occurs. Aggressive ambushing is now considered unacceptable bullying by the modern generation.

Tradition says that women should be spanked with a whip in order to keep their health, beauty and fertility throughout the following year.[2]

In some countries, such as Poland) Easter palms or pussy willows are used.[3]

Etymology[edit]

"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.[4]

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.

References[edit]

  1. ^ babastudio. "Whipping away infertility at Easter". Bohemian Magic. Retrieved 2019-11-18.
  2. ^ "Easter whips up some Czech traditions". PraguePost.
  3. ^ Silverman, Deborah Anders (2000). Polish-American Folklore. University of Illinois Press. pp. 34–38. ISBN 9780252025693. pp 69-70
  4. ^ Magyar Nyelvőr – Pacsai Imre: Magyar–szlovák kulturális és nyelvi kapcsolat jegyei