How to decorate Easter eggs, knit a pomlázek or spin a magic Good Friday yarn?

Every year, Easter craft workshops in the Ctěnice Castle complex offer the opportunity to discover and try traditional wicker knitting or, for example, the forgotten custom of spinning magic threads. Of course, there are also folk techniques for decorating Easter eggs.

Lucie and Zuzana Kiralijovy Photo: Olga Vasinkevich, Radio Prague International

“It’s a wax relief technique. We puff any egg, chicken, duck, goose or even ostrich. We then sand it, paint it or spray it with acrylic paints and then paint it with wax. This wax technique has a long tradition. In our village, we learned it as small children. We have patterns for painting, but we usually invent them, we already master them.” describes Lucie Kiralyová, who paints Easter eggs with her sister Eliška.

They both learned it in a circle called Kraslice, where their grandmother brought them as children. Lucie explains that the traditional colors for painting eggs are green, red or blue.

“So rather the darker colors, because the white wax stands out there,” adds. He explains that when acrylic paints did not yet exist, eggs were dyed with onions.

“The egg was wrapped in onion slices, wrapped in a frying pan and left to boil. Then it was painted with wax. Brown eggs in white, white in brown,” describing.

Dry first, then soak, then process

Photo: Olga Vasinkevich, Radio Prague International

Like painted eggs and Easter eggs, baskets and spreads are a traditional part of Easter. On Easter Monday, the men and boys will whip the women and girls, then they give a gift to the baskets which they bring home.

Zuzana Tylajčíková came to the workshops to teach children and adults how to knit and even baskets. And quite professionally, because she is a basket maker by training. “It’s my hobby and I’m very happy with it, because it’s also my job. I only do agricultural basketball, which was used here. Here you can see scissors, adders, chicken coops, but also baskets for blueberries and strawberries. Each basket has its own story, “ shows various wicker products.

He not only weaves green wicker baskets, but also colorful baskets from various varieties of willow, which the company he works for grows himself in plantations.

“When you look at the baskets, there are yellow, red, green and brown. I also learned from those old basketball masters who used the old technique. That means we don’t immediately weave from of fresh wicker, but let it dry for six months, a year. I even have ten-year-old streams, which then have to soak again. But the important thing is that it is first allowed to dry so that there are no visas. You knit a basket with fresh willows, but then they dry out terribly. So first dry, then soak, then process, “ describes the correct procedure for working with wicker.

Photo: Olga Vasinkevich, Radio Prague International

Zuzana Tylajčíková explains that farmers used to prepare various tools during the winter when they had nothing to do, including various baskets and baskets for harvesting. “They prepared it from living wicker. So when she went to harvest beets or potatoes, the baskets were soaked to last. And the following winter, the farmers knitted new baskets, so they didn’t mind them drying out.” He is smiling.

In the Easter workshops, however, he mainly focuses on desserts, which serve as a rejuvenation for Easter. “But it was not just the women who were forced, they also rejuvenated animals or trees to produce well”, remember.

There are many ways to knit the pomlázek. “I pay eight rods here, I have four rods in each hand. He must stay in that hand, he must never go to the other side. We alternate between the right side and the left side and always take the first edge .Again it is tangled in a completely different way with the center rod intertwining all the way around.And the result is that the pom pom is then much firmer.This one is so much a softer version for women, less of lashes,” laughs Tereza Tylajčíková, daughter of Ms. Zuzana.

Photo: Olga Vasinkevich, Radio Prague International

Petr from Prague also came to knit in Pomlázek. And he chose a rather complicated method.

“I learned this from the master. I’m doing this style for the first time and it taught me very quickly. It’s a new method for me, otherwise I knit the classic eight-strand. Every year a few braids to knitting, but just for the fun of the children. Now people don’t walk around Prague anymore, but when I was younger people would go around the village. Now all that’s left of the tradition is knitting, Easter eggs, coloring and most importantly passing traditions on to future generations. That’s probably the most interesting part for me right now,” Peter laughs.

Spinning magic threads

Jitka Sovova Photo: Olga Vasinkevich, Radio Prague International

There is also heavy-thread spinning at the event, to which historical sources attribute magical power. Mrs. Jitka Sovová is spinning a good Friday yarn on a spinning wheel.

“It was a thread of passion that spun at the end of the overgrowth. These usually ended in Ugly Wednesday, then a magic thread spun, which was also stopped or sewn into the clothes. It had a protective function, it protected against lightning, stings, diseases and the like, “ describing. According to some sources, clothes made from these threads even protected thieves, so the invisible ones could fly in the middle of the crowd.

Mrs. Sova explains that the spinning was purely a winter job, as there was nothing to do in the field at the time. “So either the baskets were knitted, or the threads were spun, or the fabrics were woven. I will stretch these threads in front, stretch them in condition and weave the fabric, for example, on a bag or a poncho or a scarf, “ He is smiling.

She receives the wool Mrs. Sovová comes from the sheep farmers. “Those who raise sheep usually like to get rid of the wool, because nobody buys it here. So I usually get it for free. It has to be washed, cleaned and combed. But you don’t have to wash it completely, because you need a little lanolin, so the wool retains its suppleness and its resistance to wind and rain.” Explain.

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