Czech Easter tradition

Hody, hody, doprovody,
dejte vejce malovaný,
nedáte-li malovaný,
dejte aspo? bílý,
slepi?ka vám snese jiný

Feast, feast, escorts,
give eggs painted,
if you don’t give a painted,
give at least,
a white chick you can stand another

Give me a colored egg, if you won’t give me a colored egg, give me a white one and get your hen to lay another

Lenka is from Brno, Czech Republic. She told me that in the Czech Republic, Easter is celebrated on the Monday following Easter Sunday. She says that in her town, Brno, it is tradition on this day for boys to sing this song while they go to girls houses and hit them on the bottom with a bat or whip. It is the only day boys can do this, and though it may appear violent, it is actually for amusement purposes, and is considered a good thing to be visited and smacked by a boy. Lenka has had this done to her before, and one year when no boys came to her house she was upset, because it is good to be smacked and she felt left out of the fun.

As the Czech Republic was communist for a period of time, the Easter holiday is not so much a religious celebration as it is a pagan celebration of spring. Spring is the time for new life, and the celebration of the young who will soon bring new life into the world. The song which the boys sing asks that girls give them a colored egg. If they cannot, the boys tell the girls to get their hen to lay another, hopefully colored. Lenka told me this song and the ensuing rituals are almost always performed by young, teenage boys to teenage girls. The colored egg symbolizes fertility, which the boys are after. And the song indicates that the boys insist a girl keep trying to give them a colored egg, which symbolizes a young womans youth and fertility.  The celebration of Easter and spring merges with a courting ritual.

Article annotation: Jacy Meyer (2010-201 1). Easter in Prague.