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Lent Sunday

In Bohemia, Easter is the culmination of a forty-day period of fasting (Lent) which begins on Ash Wednesday after a festive and merry carnival (Shrovetide). In the Catholic liturgical calendar, Ash Wednesday is on the Wednesday before the first Lenten Sunday and marks the beginning of the fasting period. On Ash Wednesday, ash from palms branches blessed on Palm Sunday the previous year is used for the priest to mark crosses on worshippers' foreheads. Many superstitions were connected with Ash Wednesday.

Each Sunday in Lent has its own special name:

  • Invocabit - First Lenten Sunday - 9. 2. 2014

    This day is associated with many folklore customs and habits since mediaeval times, several of which were given special names - Black, Pea Sprout, Sack and Fox.
  • Reminiscere - Second Lenten Sunday - 16. 3. 2014

    This is also called Roast Sunday because on this day kernels of grain were roasted to prepare a special dish called pražma. Sometimes it was also called "Sootsweeping" Sunday based on the general spring cleaning carried out that day.
  • Oculi - Third Lenten Sunday - 23. 3. 2014

    Many superstitions about health and longevity surround this Sunday. People wished one another not to sneeze as they believed that sneezing started plagues. In contrast, there were others who believed that if someone could manage to sneeze quickly three times in a row, they'd be healthy as a horse for the rest of the year.
  • Laetare - Fourth Lenten Sunday - 30. 3. 2014

    Also called Groomsman's, when the groom and his best man walked to the home where they wanted to return on Easter Monday to ask the bride for her hand in marriage. This tradition remained in place in Bohemia all the way up to World War I.
  • Judica - Fifth Lenten Sunday – 6. 4. 2014

    Mistress Death, a straw figure that embodied all of the evil that winter had brought, was carried out of the village that day. Villagers walked through the entire town with Death before throwing her into a stream outside of town.
  • Palmarum - Sixth Lenten Sunday - 13. 4. 2014

    Also Palm Sunday. A celebration of Christ's arrival in Jerusalem. Willow and catkin twigs are blessed, while others carry a líto - green sprigs decorated with coloured ribbons and white or coloured eggshells. In some areas it is believed that people should wear something new that day.


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