Saturday
March
22nd
2008
8:37 am

Easter Markets and Pomlázky

Easter Markets

I was curious to know if Easter Markets were substantially different from Advent Markets. There are really only trivial differences. They’re smaller, for one; in fact, Náměstí Míru didn’t even have one. Most of the stalls sell the same touristy junk that they sold before Christmas, and the food and drink are largely the same. In particular, the trdelník stalls are hugely popular:
Trdelnik
It’s fun to watch trdelník being made. They start with sweet yeasted bread dough. The baker rolls a chunk of dough into a long snake, which is then wrapped around a stainless steel cylinder. After two or three snakes have been wrapped, the cylinder serves as a rolling pin to flatten the dough while it’s rolled in a mixture of coarse, spiced sugar and almonds. The dough-covered cylinder is then set in a rack that spins the cylinder over an open fire so that the dough bakes and the sugar caramelizes. When the trdelník is all nice and toasty brown, it comes off the fire and is rolled once more in the sugar and almond mixture. Needless to say, they’re best hot off the fire.

The main place where the Easter markets differ from the Advent markets is that the Christmas decorations are (mostly) replaced by decorated eggs:
Easter eggs

Easter eggs

Easter Market at Anděl

The Easter Market at Anděl is a small one: just a couple of dozen stalls. What I like about it, though, is that it has a pony ride:
Pony ride at Andel
It also has a couple of other rides for children. There’s a choo-choo train:
Children's train ride at Andel
And there’s a car ride:
Children's car ride at Andel

Easter Market at Staroměstské Náměstí

The big Easter market, at Staroměstské Náměstí (Old Town Square), on the other hand, has a much larger collection of stalls. In addition, there’s a sort of little petting zoo:
Petting Zoo
The Easter Rabbit?
Easter Rabbit?
There’s also a blacksmith at work:
Blacksmith
Instead of a Christmas tree, there’s an Easter egg:
Easter egg
There’s also an Easter tree (there, behind the Jan Hus memorial):
Easter tree

Florists and Pomlázky

A few weeks ago, I started seeing these bundles of twigs trimmed with multi-colored ribbons at florists’ stands:
Pomlazka
I asked one of my students about them, and he became a little flustered and claimed (rather disingenuously) that they’re just a traditional Spring decoration. It took me a while longer to find out that they are supposed to be used on Easter Monday, when the men whip the women to keep them beautiful and/or fertile. Not surprisingly, the men in my classes all disclaim any participation in this pagan ritual: "It’s practiced only in some of the smaller villages these days", they tell me. And according to this article from the Prague Post, they may be correct. However, several of my women students have admitted that their husbands or boyfriends have brought home their pomlázky, which will be used for the traditional purpose. (I’m staying out of this: they’re consenting adults and I’ve no reason to believe that any of these women is in an abusive relationship.)

And, it turns out that pussy willows aren’t just for Palm Sunday:
Pussy willows

2 responses to “Easter Markets and Pomlázky”

  1. Anonymous says:

    You have a good eye.

    Love the eggs.

    When can I come visit? I want to shoot with you!!

  2. dasmith says:

    Thanks! And the sooner you come to visit, the better!

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