|Photo LA Times|
It crossed my mind yesterday that unlike Christmas, Easter holiday does not leave me nostalgically yearning for my homeland. Every Christmas I miss my home and all the customs that come with it. Every Easter I am grateful I don't live in Slovakia anymore.
Easter bunny is a strange concept to me. I am not sure how the poor bunny ever got hooked up with eggs, chocolate and screaming children high on sugar. He seems to be a mix of a rock star and a drug dealer. With that said...
Easter customs in Slovakia are messed up, to put it lightly. Here is what an official Slovak site has to say about them: “Oblievacka” (water pouring) is a typical Easter Monday custom in Slovakia. The character of oblievacka slightly varies from region to region. On this day men visit their female relatives and friends and pour water on them or spray them with perfume, and whip them gently with special whips made of braided willow rods. According to tradition, pouring water on women will guarantee their beauty and good health throughout the year...After water pouring and whipping, women reward men with sweets, fruit, money, or painted Easter eggs."
I wonder if this is the reason that people in Slovakia don't go see therapists as often as people in the US. If you grow up with this, there is not much left that can shake you, mentally or physically.
Here is how it typically goes in your regular household if you are a girl. You are woken up early in the morning by having water splashed over your face. You climb out of the bed and turn your back to the male relative or a friend, so that he can spank you with a whip. You give them one of the eggs you have decorated some days before. Then you offer them food, pastries and cakes. Your Mom slips them a few bucks and your Dad pours them a shot. In Slovakia, we take our drinking seriously. None of that beer or wine nonsense - this is the time for Slivovitz! If you don't know what Slivovitz is, come see me immediately. (In the meantime, it can be described as a plum brandy usually bottled around 102 - 104 proof).
Depending on the enthusiasm and the blood alcohol content of your visitor, they can decide to throw you in a bathtub and just turn the shower on. No - they don't attempt to make the temperature just right for you. As a matter of fact, you are probably lucky if they hit the "cold" water tap. An alternative to water pouring is perfume spritzing. This might sound like a less aggressive approach. Don't be fooled. Think about the cheapest, smelliest perfume that is being repetitively sprayed on your hair. Think about how many days it takes to wash it out.
The whipping is mainly pretend kind. You don't really get beaten or abused, at least not before 11am. After that most of the men are so drunk that they might get a bit out of control, but on the other hand their aim is considerably worse, which goes to your advantage. Plus they are easier distracted by immediate offering of another shot of Slivovitz.
You would think girls hate Easter. They say they hate it. I think many of them truly do. But here is a hitch - the next day they all compare how many visitors they had, how many eggs they handed out and how many times they had to change into dry clothes. The higher the number, the bigger the pride. Of course it's a popularity contest! Frown all you want, deep down you know this is a part of human nature and in the end, you'd feel the same. And don't forget, this is done so that you can be beautiful and healthy for another year. Hm...maybe we should be seeing more therapists after all.
Well, now you know why the drug dealing, rock star popular Easter Bunny seems like a heaven sent angel to me. Now please excuse me while I go look through my son's basket for some M&Ms.