You wouldn't want to be a woman over the Easter weekend in Slovakia.
The fairer sex can expect to be whipped with willow branches and doused in water, but it's all good fun and actually performed with the aim of making women more beautiful and healthy.
The folk custom, once believed to purify the soul and body, predates Christianity, which arrived in Slovakia in the ninth century but became intertwined with Easter traditions as history passed.
Folk festival: Men and women wear traditional dress over the Easter weekend in Slovakia as they follow the unusual custom of whipping women with branches
Festive fun: Men and boys take great delight in pouring buckets of water over the women of the village as part of a celebration to help them become more healthy and beautiful
Take a dip: Some of the more enthusiastic boys take the opportunity to throw girls into a nearby river
Choose your weapon: Hand-made wicker-rods, (in Slovakia known as 'kourbash') are used by men to whip women as part of the old Easter custom
According to ethnographer Viera Feglová, the unusual tradition originated as part of folk beliefs based on nature's cycle and spring being a time of rebirth.
The practice used to be seen across the whole country, but died out somewhat uder Communist rule in the late 20th century. Now in bigger cities, women tend to be sprayed with scented water.
However, in smaller towns and villages, women can still expect to have buckets of water poured over them, be playfully whipped with decorated branches and even thrown into the local river by some over-enthusiastic males.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/article-2607322/Six-weirdest-Easter-traditions-held-world.html#ixzz2zK48Poam