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Shibi-ryby marks last day of Easter weekend

The last day of Easter is traditionally connected in Slovakia with the custom of soaking women and 'whipping' them with a switch.

The last day of Easter is traditionally connected in Slovakia with the custom of soaking women and 'whipping' them with a switch.

The symbols of this day are water, green and eggs, which are given to the men who do the whipping, the TASR newswire wrote. But the traditions differ by region. In the south-west, girls and women are soaked and whipped, whereas in the west they are only whipped, and in the east they are only soaked.

The switch, or shibi-ryby, is connected to fertility and the soakings ensure health and beauty. These customs were completely different before the 1950s. At that time, the soaking and whipping started after midnight, or in the early morning hours. Groups of young men visited the houses of adult girls, who rewarded them with hard boiled eggs, cake, wine and spirits for their 'work'.

Young adults also received raw eggs, which were a symbol of fertility. Younger boys went to soak and whip the girls before noon, and they received sweets, and, nowadays, money.

Married men also kept up this custom, but they visited only their relatives. As the boys got money for whipping and soaking, they organised a party on Easter Monday evening, to which the girls were also invited. Therefore, Easter Monday is a day for relatives to visit each other. TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports

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