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Customs and traditions


Czech Easter Dishes

photo:  (Chef Gurmán)

Easter dishes in the Czech regions are strongly affected by Christian symbolism and tradition. Easter has its origin in heathen times. It was taken over by Christianity as a celebration of the spring equinox and nature’s awakening as a festival celebrating resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The Easter feast is mainly associated with the symbol of a lamb.  In the past, people who could not afford a real lamb substituted this symbol with a cake of an identical shape.  And so they baked lambs from sweet yeast dough, batter or sponge.
A special place in the Czech Easter menu is dedicated from way back to eggs as a symbol of new life and rebirth, as well as pastry. Eggs are an ingredient of many Easter dishes and boys received them on Easter Monday for their Easter visits (pomlázka).  They also form the basic ingredient for the Easter cake (Cross-Bun), which is the oldest documented Easter pastry in our country, and along with the lamb belongs among the oldest Czech Easter dishes.  The Easter cake is a feast cake made from yeast dough.  It has a round shape, with cross-like cuts at the top.  Besides Easter cakes, “Judases” are popular, as well.  They are also made from yeast dough, but they are smaller and have a shape of various braids and spirals.  They symbolize the rope with which Judas hung himself after betraying Christ.
Meat is also present on the Easter table.  Typical are mainly combinations of meat, mainly mincemeat with eggs or pastry, and various stuffings or mixtures.
Easter dishes were attributed special importance in the past, and people even brought them in a basket to the Church for consecration. This tradition has survived to this day in some regions, especially in the countryside.


Author: Ivana Jenerálová
Added: 18.03.2010

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