For those unfamiliar with Czech customs, that headline might cause some confusion. But one of the longstanding Easter traditions in the Czech Republic, dating back to the pagan times, is the whipping of women to chase away sickness and bad spirits and to bring health and youth to everyone for the rest of the year.
But this year, strict anti-coronavirus regulations to ensure social distancing have cast a pall over one of the more beloved local traditions.
In video posted to the official YouTube channel of political party ANO today, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš urged his fellow citizens to celebrate this Easter responsibly.
Amusingly, the first twenty seconds of the video feature the Prime Minister and his wife Monika play-acting as Babiš lurks behind a pillar, leaps out at his wife as she walks into the garden, and chases her around with a whip while reciting the famous “Hody, hody, doprovody” rhyme.
For non-Czech speakers, the Prime Minister is asking his wife to “give me a colored egg, if you don’t have a colored egg, a white one will do, the hen will lay another,” as he chases her around with a whip.
Afterwards, Babiš sits down with his two-meter-long whip – to ensure compliance with social distancing regulations – to give viewers a heart-to-heart chat about celebrating Easter under the current restrictions.
“We have extended the state of emergency, unfortunately some of our fellow citizens do not comply,” Babiš says.
“If we mess it up now, it will have very negative consequences. We don’t know what will happen in seven to ten days.”
Regarding the regulations, Babiš said that he was taking the opportunity to be with his family.
“I enjoy it, it’s rare to be home with my family,” he stated, adding that he and his son spent ninety minutes biking.