Easter in Prague
It’s now 3 a.m. on Easter and I’m hoping this day will end up being as special as we intended it to be. My great-grandmother, Mary, was the first of our family to brave the voyage to America. She passed away on Easter many years ago and it has been a special holiday in our family since.
We plan on having trdelník in the square for breakfast before walking across the bridge to the market area for holiday festivities in front of the famous astronomical clock (pražský orloj).
Later that day ...
It's clear that Easter (Velikonoce) has a strong history in Prague, stemming from the Jewish holiday of Pesach. To them, it signifies the deliverance of the Jews from slavery in Egypt. Christians celebrate Easter to focus on the resurrection of Jesus. The Easter markets of Prague are one of the highlights of the holiday season. There are booths selling traditional homemade goods and crafts, baked goods, and famous Czech glassware. Women wear traditional dress and paint elaborate designs on eggs, called "kraslice". This symbolizes new life and the coming Spring equinox. Eggs were thought to hold supernatural powers if they were painted or decorated with ornaments. Mulled wine carts meander through the streets by a manger area with baby animals resting. It feels like the perfect mix of Christmas and Easter. Every now and then, you can see a person running through the square playfully tapping bystanders with what looks like a straw broom. This is a pomlázka, used to make one "younger" if they're hit with it. Pomlázka is also the name of the Easter Monday visit where male visitors receive gifts from "whipped" girls and women. Going visiting with a pomlázka is a tradition that has remained in place to the present day.
Halfway through our tour, small snowflakes began to fall around us which was nothing but magical. Filming them only took away from the experience. We must have really been transparent as tourists then, both standing in the square, staring at the sky exclaiming that there was snow. Neither of us cared. The noise of the people around us seemed to fade with the snow, creating a stillness punctuated by the bleating of the nearby lambs. It was beautiful.