It was exactly 12 years ago today.
It was my first spring in Prague and I was a travelling grammar teacher unpacking my text books and notes in a meeting room inside some big corporation.
8 a.m. and my first question to the group of bored IT guys was:
“So, how was your weekend?”
Jan: “I beat my wife.”
Jiri: “I beat my wife and my daughter.”
Karel: “I beat my wife, my daughter, my grandmother, and my wife’s mother.”
“Hmm, that’s strange,” I thought. “No one played tennis…”
Eventually, I learned about the Czech Easter traditions. (If you’re not in this part of the world, on Easter Monday the men “beat” their women on the bum with hand-made Easter sticks while saying a special Easter poem. Then, the women give them eggs or alcohol.)
In the years since then, I’ve seen a lot of American businesses and styles come to Prague.
But, unfortunately, I don’t think this Czech tradition will ever get a US passport: too many feminists and sensitive men over there.
And maybe it’s better that way.
As the world becomes more connected, it also becomes smaller, and differences become fewer.
So when I discover a tradition that is not just old, but uniquely local, well, I like that.