Czech Customs

Taken from Czech Reflections
By Willa Mae Cervenka

Holy Wednesday  Czech and Slovaks call the Wednesday of Holy Week, “Ugly Wednesday”.  There is superstition that anyone eating honey on this day will not be stung by serpents.  The church bells are muffled, their place being taken by great wooden rattles in the church towers.

Holy Thursday  In Czech Republic, Holy Thursday is called “Green Thursday”.  The hawthorn is supposed to weep on that day; according to tradition, it is the tree from which the crown of thorns was fashioned. Parents send their children to the brooks to bathe on Green Thursday; it is a cure for laziness.  At breakfast the Czechs and Slovaks eat honey and “Judas cakes, cakes twisted like rope.

Good Friday  Holy Friday is known as “Great Friday” in Czech Republic.  On that day anyone can look upon the sun without being blinded by its glare.  Moveover, all hidden treasures are revealed to those seeking them before sunrise.  An ancient ballad tells of a woman who went before sunrise of Great Friday to a mountainside.  The rocks opened and she beheld quantities of shining gold.  Hastily laying down her child, she filled her apron with gold and then ran home for a larger vessel to hold more treasure.  By the time she returned, the sun was up and her child was shut up in the mountain.  A year later she returned to the same spot before sunrise; the mountain opened and she found her child alive and well.

For Good Luck  In a new home the Czech people plant rosemary and oleander at the front door for good luck.

Czech Fortunes  In Czech Republic, fortunes are told after dinner on Christmas Eve.  Melted wax or lead is poured into water and the shapes they form are the signs that foretell the future.