My friend Liza, currently living in Moravia, sent me this recently and gave me permission to post it here. In my BDSM overview presentation I refer to a few groups that do “BDSM-like” activity, such as Opus Dei (a religious society that practices corporal mortification) and Christian Domestic Discipline (spanking encouraged as part of a happy Christian marriage). I wouldn’t call these practices BDSM, mostly because I know those groups wouldn’t identify themselves that way. But there are undeniable parallels … parallels that sometimes, perhaps, shed some light on the attractions of BDSM.

At any rate, BDSM or not, this is hilarious:

I was telling my mom about Czech Easter yesterday, and I thought it would be interesting for all you traveler/cultural types.

It’s kind of a strange tradition — throughout this country and Slovakia, men/boys get up at dawn on Easter Monday and go around town brandishing whips made of willow tree looking for women to whip. In our area, Valašsko!, if the guys don’t roll out of bed early enough, the local bell towers offer the service of a special ring at 8am. Also, Wallachian guys don’t carry braided willow whips, they carry fresh branches of juniper (you know, a short pointy pine bush that stings after it pokes you) which women throughout the Czech Republic speak of in fear.

With these whips, groups of guys wander around the town visiting every female they know for a quick beating, for which they are rewarded with slivovice, treats, painted eggs and ribbons. The rationale is that a whipping with juniper is as good as a full body spa treatment to rejuvenate the skin and blood — so these guys are really just doing a favor for the women. It is supposed to bring another year of youth to the female population. Women’s health and beauty aside, most boys do it for fun and for candy, and most men do it for fun and for slivovice.

You can image that if they start early, visit a few households with about 2 shots/”legs” of liquor at each house, these groups of guys get pretty wasted before noon. I think women began to give them alcohol instead of eggs knowing that it would really just slow them down and bring the tradition to a faster close. Also, after noon the roles switch and women have the right to douse the men in ice water or toss them into the river. Around 1pm, hordes of men and teenagers start to stagger home, drunk and dripping wet.

The pleasant, P.C. Czech Easter website won’t tell you that they rub girls down with juniper (the strategy is to get up so early that girls are caught in their PJs and don’t have a chance to put on their heaviest canvas burqa or other juniper-protection-systems) or that half of the men end up passing out in the streets before lunchtime. It’s a funny tradition though, and certainly all the religious connotations of Easter are completely absent. This is totally an archaic pagan celebration — chasing women with big sticks and getting decorated eggs in return? Doesn’t that sound like a springtime fertility rite?

So, by 9:30am I’ve already had my whippings, the guys are out boozing and harassing other ladies, and I can sit for a cup of coffee and write an email. I have a bucket of cold water ready for the afternoon, but I wish I had brought a couple supersoakers.

Everybody is invited for next year! Ladies, brace yourselves for the beauty treatment, and gents, ready your livers for heavy boozing.