Easter is celebrated here on Monday, the Monday after the USA's Easter Sunday. And I'm not talking about Church and the resurrection because that is pretty standard across the board, Good Friday or in Czech, Velký Pátek (directly translated to big/large Friday) and then Easter Sunday or Velikonoce (directly, big nights); I'm talking about Easter Monday. This is a day that is a bank holiday, meaning no one works- anywhere. Instead they have a day with family and friends (pretty nice, yeah?) and tradition. Tradition is still held firm here, with wheel spinning and superstitions (more to come on this in later weeks), but my favorite-well my second favorite-is the Easter tradition.
From a young age the boys are taught to braid the branches of willow trees together to form a whip. Once they have their whip, they proceed to find their female friends. They whip the girls and receive in return for their whipping (why not, I would love to give gifts to the boys who came to hit me, especially the fifth, sixth, tenth and so on... maybe it's not a good thing to be a popular girl here...) she must give them a decorated egg, she must tie some ribbon on the end of his whip (so he can show how many times he's whipped girls, of course), and give him a shot of alcohol (depending on the age of the boy). This is all done in the morning and as soon as afternoon begins, the girls can get revenge (if the boys aren't too drunk and passed-out by then) by throwing water on them or spraying them with perfume. Apparently, the boys get quite stinky after being sprayed by ten or so different smells.
The whipping isn't extreme at all, it's more like a soft tap for the younger kids and maybe hard if the boy knows the girl really well, but it is all quite civil. Legend has it that getting whipped on Easter will bring you health and help you maintiain your beauty for the coming years so maybe getting hit a little is a good thing...
I must stress that it is done for the sake of fun, tradition, and "my mother said and I had to." No one is really hurt, but because it is something I could never dream of happening in the US due to equality, laws, rights and not having 1,000+ years of tradition, I must say the idea of it seems quite strange to me. This is the beauty of being somewhere different though and I am grateful for the laughs and funny stories I hear from the people.
*This is my understanding of the tradition.