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Shrove tuesday

There are written reports of Shrove Tuesday going back as far as the 13th centruy. Our distant ancestors used to be very fond of the wild celebrations on Shrove Tuesday, which the church of the time was none too pleased about. Absolutely everyone made merry and the celebrations were significantly livelier and more mischievous. Everybody ate Shrove flour balls and doughnuts, drank happily, sand and danced.

Easter

This falls on Easter Sunday, which is the climax of Holy Week and the end of a 40-day fast. Originally this day began with the blessing of Easter dishes (lamb, loaves, Easter cakes etc.), chich even today cannot be missing from the Easter table. A piece of the blessed Easter cake, an egg and some wine were carried out by farmers to the garden, the field and the well, in order to insure an abundance of fruit and grain and invarably good water. Easter Monday is preceded by a week of symbolically named days. On Easter Monday with birch rods symbolising Spring and life go around the neighbourhood, where they must symbolically beat the girls, who give them in return a painted or otherwise decorated egg and a ribbon for the birch rod.

Burning of the witches

It is connected to St. Philip and Jacob´s Day and also Valpruza´s Night from the 30th of April to the 1st of May, which is supposedly one of the magical nights when evil forces have greater power that at other times. At midnight before St. Phillip and Jacob´s Day, when evil spirits had the power to harm people, abundant treasures could be found. In order to protect themselves from the spirits, the searchers had to have on them a flower from a fern, a blessed chalk, a wafer and other objects. People bilieved that masses of withces were flying in the air, and came swooping down on the Sabbath. This is where the name burning of the witches comes from. Before this Sabbath the witches coated themselves in magic creams, which enabled them to fly. Fires were lit on high ground as protection against the withces. These fires have an ancient origin in some places. As time went by these fires turned into the burning of the witches, when young people set fire to brooms and throuhg them into the air, supposedly so that the witches flying on their broomsticks up above would see them.

May pole

Even now on the eve of May Day the young men go into the forest to cut down the tallest tree and by the morning make it into an old Czech maypole, the traditional symbol of spring. Spruce, fir or pine trees are pruned, and the tip is decorated with a wreath, scarves, flowers, ribbons and streamers. The maypole is carefully guarded all night, because losing it would bring disgrace to the village. This time is inherently connected to the name of Karel Hynek Macha, the author of the poem Maj (May Day). It is said that any girl who is not kissed on this day will wither within a year. Students´Majales celebrations are also popular.

Christmas

Telling fortunes by splitting an apple after Christmas dinner, pouring lead, throwing a slipper and may other means all form part of a traditional Christmas. Christmas is preceded by four advent Sundays, during which poeple bake Christmas cookies, buy presents and dedicate themselves to preparing for Christmas. Small children especially look forward to the Day of Giving, which is here celebrated on 24th December. On this day tables are decorated with plenty of baked cookies, the pleasant smell of the Chritmas tree can be smelled all over the flat, which is decorated either on the day before or the morning of the 24th. The most important part of the whole day is surely Christmas dinner, when fish soup followed by carp and potato salad are eaten. After the meal the family relocates to the Chritmas tree, under which the presents are given out. After Christmas comes St. Sylvester´s Day, when the New Year is celebrated vigorously.