Easter Czech-language special

Painted eggs

Welcome to a special edition of Radio Prague's Czech-teaching programme, today dedicated to Easter themes. Easter, Velikonoce, is the most important Christian holiday, celebrated also by all those who are happy that winter is over and spring has come once again. The word Velikonoce is derived from the expression velká noc - meaning a "great night". It comes from Greek and originally stood for the great day on which Jesus Christ rose from the dead.

Welcome to a special edition of Radio Prague's Czech-teaching programme, today dedicated to Easter themes. Easter, Velikonoce, is the most important Christian holiday, celebrated also by all those who are happy that winter is over and spring has come once again. The word Velikonoce is derived from the expression velká noc - meaning a "great night". It comes from Greek and originally stood for the great day on which Jesus Christ rose from the dead.

First, we'll take a look at what some of the Easter days are called. On Maundy Thursday, Zelený ètvrtek, which is a commemoration of the Last Supper, bells become silent and are said to fly off to Rome. Good Friday, Velký pátek, or Big Friday in Czech, is the day that Jesus died on the cross. For Christians it is a day of fasting and contemplation. Easter Saturday, Bílá sobota, when church bells chime once again, is a day of preparations for Easter Sunday, Nedìle velikonoèní, which is a time of rejoicing over the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Easter Monday, Pondìlí velikonoèní, is a day when various popular customs coming from pre-Christian times are practiced across Europe. Although customs vary in different regions of the Czech Republic, the main Easter Monday tradition is the so-called "whipping". Boys call on all the girls in the neighbourhood and whip them with plaited willow switches. The whip and the custom is called pomlázka. The painful procedure is supposed to guarantee good health and beauty to women in the coming year, and according to tradition girls pay for the service with painted eggs - kraslice.

Of course, eggs are the main symbol of Easter, and plenty are eaten during the holiday, both real and made of chocolate. The traditional Easter meal is lamb, jehnìèí, sometimes with stuffing made from young nettles, kopøivová nádivka.

And with those mouth-watering expressions we end today's Czech-language special. Have a very happy Easter! Veselé Velikonoce!



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