“Break through, jump over, but do not crawl under.”
Slovak and Czech Customs
In Slovakia and the Czech Republic budding willow branches are traditionally used on Palm Sunday. These countries are too far north to grow palms so the people used what was available to them. With the advent of the modern era it became possible to buy real palm fronds and the people often wove them into elaborate designs for use on Palm Sunday.
A very important village custom was the blessing of Easter baskets on Holy Saturday. This is a very ancient tradition. Elaborately embroidered cloths were placed over the basket before it was taken to the church for the Holy Saturday blessing. The contents were a meal that was to be eaten cold on Easter Sunday for lunch. All of the foods had symbolic meaning and the menu is very ancient and traditional.
Ham and kielbasa, rich meats were required and they symbolize the end of the severe Lenten fasting. There is also a horseradish root as well as ground beets mixed with ground horseradish to symbolize the bitter suffering of Christ on Good Friday. There are Hardboiled Easter eggs which are resurrection symbols and Kolache (sweet pastries) to symbolize the sweetness of the resurrection.
Easter Monday was a holiday called Dingus Day. The girls in villages either sprayed the boys with perfume or tossed water onto them. The boys would chase the girls with birch bark switches and switch the girls.