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Šibačka ritual highlights the last day of Easter weekend

Easter Monday is the last day of Easter holidays and in Slovakia this day is traditionally connected with the custom of wetting or soaking girls and women with water and 'whipping' them with a willow whip, the TASR newswire wrote.

Easter Monday is the last day of Easter holidays and in Slovakia this day is traditionally connected with the custom of wetting or soaking girls and women with water and 'whipping' them with a willow whip, the TASR newswire wrote.

The symbols of this day are water, the colour green and eggs that are handed out by the girls in return for the whipping. In south western parts of Slovakia, girls and women are soaked and whipped, but in the west they are only whipped and in the east they are only soaked.

The whipping with a sallow whip, a šibačka in Slovak or shibi-ryby as the accompanying short verse has it, is connected with beliefs about fertility while the water soakings are supposed to ensure health and beauty.

These customs were quite different before the 1950s. At that time, the soakings and whippings started after midnight or in the early morning hours. Groups of young men visited houses in which young women lived. The girls gave the boys hard-boiled eggs, cake, wine and spirits as a reward for the 'work' they had done. The young adults also received raw eggs which were the symbol of fertility.

Younger boys were allowed to soak and whip the girls before noon. Married men kept up the custom but they only visited their relatives. As the young men received money for the whippings and soakings, they organised a party on Monday evening to which the girls were also invited. Easter Monday has been one of the days on which relatives are also expected to visit each other.

Source: TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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