Easter traditions in Slovakia – Traditional Handcrafts

Easter is one of the most significant Christian holidays in Slovakia. It is a moveable holiday, so its date changes every year.In Slovakia believers commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Good Friday and they celebrate the resurrection of the Lord Jesus on Easter Sunday. Slovak Easter is associated with many customs, traditions, symbols and traditional decorations.

Decorated eggs

In Slovakia there is a great number of preserved traditional techniques of Easter eggs decoration, for example:

  • Batik – symbols and patterns are etched on the eggs surface in wax using a pin, then the eggs are submerged in dye, and the wax is removed with a warm cloth.
  • Waxing – the principle is the same like batik but you use wax crayons and the wax is not removed, so the decoration is in relief.
  • Scratching – patterns are scratched out with a point of knife, needle or an awl. Eggs are usually painted red, blue, green, violet or even black.
  • Pasting – different materials are pasted on eggs: wool, oat straws or yarn. Patterns are composed of flowers, spirals, hearts, birds and many more.
  • Wiring – was common in the past in the regions of north and north-west of Slovakia. For this way of decorating you can use natural or coloured eggs and a copper wire and  make a neetting that looks like an armour.

Baskets weaving

There is a wide range of basket types in Slovakia and some of them are used for a traditional blessing of Easter food. It is a tradition in many regions of Slovakia to have a basket of food blessed on Easter Sunday. A lot of time and care are put not only onto the foods that will go into the basket but also how the basket is assembled. The basket is lined with an embroidered cloth or traditional folk fabric. A typical Easter basket would include:

  • Easter bread/ pastry,
  • butter,
  • hard-boiled eggs,
  • ham,
  • horseradish,
  • sausages,

Easter whips

When it comes to Easter Monday, there is a tradition that young boys and men visit girls and women and they sprinkle them with water and spank with whips made of willow branches.

The whip can consist of 3, 4, 8, 12 or even 24 withies (willow rods) and it is usually from half  a meter to two metres long and decorated with coloured ribbons at the end.

The most beloved and at the same time the most hated (mainly by women) traditions in Slovakia involve whipping women and girls and drenching them with water on Easter Monday.

The whipping tradition stems from the fact that in spring trees grow new, young branches, representing vitality and strength – characteristics that male whippers hope to impact upon women and girls. Men and boys are usually rewarded with a ribbon or ribbons that are tied around their whips and also with painted eggs, a shot of alcohol or even some money.

Splashing with water is another ritual. In some cases women have to run from men and/or boys with buckets full of cold water. Some men and boys use perfume instead water.

Nevertheless, according to tradition, pouring water on women or girls will guarantee their beauty and good health throughout the year.

Post Author: m.heczko

Leave a Reply