Pomlázka, Easter eggs or lamb. What is the origin of Easter symbols?



easter cake


© Michael Zelinka / INCORP images
easter cake

Whisk

You can’t imagine Easter without a pom pom today. More than a hundred years ago, the Czech historian and ethnographer Čeněk Zíbrt lamented that “Traces of this can only be found in our countryside. Even there, however, the pompadour will slowly die out”however, pomlázka has remained a symbol of Easter to this day.

Some scholars see the whipping of girls on Easter Monday as an act of seduction. That’s why she gave the boys painted eggs for beating the boy. According to etymologists, the word “pomlázka” is derived from the term “rejuvenation”. The whipping of the wicker was supposed to keep girls young and fresh. However, there is evidence from some medieval theologians that people broke their twigs at Easter to commemorate the flagellation of Christ before his death on the cross.

Easter eggs

Easter eggs, i.e. decorated eggs, are an integral part of Easter. Today, this custom is gradually disappearing, but in the past, girls painted eggs as a reward for singers with the obvious. Each girl would usually create a special egg for a particular boy and then draw or write a love message on the Easter egg. The color often used to paint Easter eggs was red. It represents the color of love, but at the same time it symbolizes the blood of Jesus Christ shed for the salvation of men.

Egg painting is probably one of the oldest customs, as evidenced by archaeological finds of broken colored eggs dating back to ancient times. In our countries, shells decorated with painted geometric shapes have been found as a charity in medieval tombs. Eggs painted in this way, inserted by the dead on the last journey, were connected with the faith of our ancestors in the afterlife.

Several legends tell about the origin of Easter eggs. According to one of them, the Virgin Mary gave eggs to the soldiers who were to crucify Jesus. With this gift, she wanted to relieve the suffering of her son. As Mary cried as she passed the eggs, her tears fell onto the shells and turned into colorful ornaments.

Lamb

The Lamb is already a traditional symbol of Easter, it is one of the oldest and most represented symbols of Christianity. The origin of the Christian lamb is found in the biblical Old Testament. The God of the Old Testament is described as a good shepherd who leads his flock of sheep, the believing people. In the Bible, we also read that the most frequently sacrificed animal of the people of Israel was the lamb. The roasted animal, in turn, served as a ceremonial meal. In the New Testament, the lamb appears as a symbol of Jesus Christ and the embodiment of innocence or obedience. The church itself did not initially represent the crucified Christ, represented by the lamb next to the cross, sometimes accompanied by a halo. The representation of the lamb with a banner refers to the resurrection of Jesus.

Today, lamb is baked at Easter as a sweet pastry dessert, decorated with whipped cream or chocolate icing. Until the 19th century, however, lamb was traditionally prepared during the Easter holiday.

Mazanec

Mazanec is a traditional ceremonial pastry, one of the oldest. Its shape resembles bread, that is, the gift of God. The real Easter cake is decorated with an engraved cross, a symbol of the death of Jesus Christ.

Evidence of baking flatbreads dates back to the Middle Ages, when raw materials were definitely not spared during preparation. Large quantities of eggs and cottage cheese were added to the medieval Easter ceremonial pastry. In the 18th century, spreads were baked from cottage cheese flour, which is why they were sometimes called “cheesecakes”. From the very beginning, this pastry was supposed to be on the Easter table in every family and fill the stomachs of the poor and hungry.

Ratchet

In the past, Easter folk festivals did not pass without wooden rattles. The church bells, which according to legend “flew to Rome”, ceased to ring on Maundy Thursday. The role of the bells was therefore represented by boys with rattles, the noise of which was to serve instead of ringing. The custom of making noise with a primitive musical instrument has its origins in pre-Christian times, when our ancestors drove away the forces of evil in this way, which could perhaps prevent the arrival of spring. With Christianity, the sound of Easter rattles was originally meant to symbolize the confusion among the people caused by the crucifixion of Christ. Later the ratchets replaced the sound of the bells and the boys also used them to sing in the village.

Ratchets were often made by skilled bachelors themselves, and sometimes the tools were kept in the family for generations. By the 19th century, ratchets were already a commonly available item in markets. A special type of this instrument were the large rattles made for the needs of churches, evidently as early as the 16th century. The noise of the rattles announced to the people the beginning of the service.

Leave a Comment