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Czechs hold noisy Easter procession amid pandemic

by DAVID JOSEK THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | April 8, 2021 at 3:39 a.m.
Participants dressed in black, wearing masks, beating drums and pushing small carts making a synchronized and loud sound take part in an Easter procession marching through the streets of Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic, Thursday, April 1, 2021. The traditional event went ahead despite COVID-19 restrictions, although participants also wore medical face masks and observed social distancing as a precaution. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

CESKE BUDEJOVICE, Czech Republic -- A revival of an old Easter tradition has gone ahead in southern Czech Republic amid tight coronavirus restrictions.

After the pandemic prevented it from happening a year ago, a procession of participants in black suits with white masks returned to the city of Ceske Budejovice, beating drums and pushing small noise-making carts.

They all wear face coverings and abide by social distancing rules.

In several European countries, church bells fall silent in the evening on Maundy Thursday -- according to tradition they fly home to Rome -- and don't sound again until Easter Sunday.

While the bells are still, believers in several countries, including the Czech Republic and Austria, hold noisy processions to call people to prayers.

Their effort wasn't in vain.

The government decided to slightly relax the lockdown, allowing believers to attend Easter religious services after 9 p.m. when the overnight curfew begins.

"I'm really grateful for it," said Jan Vodicka, a participant at the event. "Last year's edition was canceled. This year, it brings people together and gives them hope. That's what Easter is all about."

While in Austria and elsewhere, people use wooden rattles to make the noise, believers in Ceske Budejovice returned about 10 years ago to a tradition of using small wooden carts for the Easter rattling, or clattering, as it's also known.

The processions took place through Easter Sunday.

A participant wearing a mask prepares to take part in an Easter procession marching through the streets in Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic, Friday, April 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
A participant wearing a mask prepares to take part in an Easter procession marching through the streets in Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic, Friday, April 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
A participant adjusts his masks before taking part in an Easter procession marching through the streets in Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic, Thursday, April 1, 2021. The traditional event went ahead despite COVID-19 restrictions, although participants also wore medical face masks and observed social distancing as a precaution. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
A participant adjusts his masks before taking part in an Easter procession marching through the streets in Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic, Thursday, April 1, 2021. The traditional event went ahead despite COVID-19 restrictions, although participants also wore medical face masks and observed social distancing as a precaution. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Participants talk before taking part in an Easter procession marching through the streets in Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic, Thursday, April 1, 2021. The traditional event went ahead despite COVID-19 restrictions, although participants also wore medical face masks and observed social distancing as a precaution. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Participants talk before taking part in an Easter procession marching through the streets in Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic, Thursday, April 1, 2021. The traditional event went ahead despite COVID-19 restrictions, although participants also wore medical face masks and observed social distancing as a precaution. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
A participant blows a horn during an Easter procession marching through the streets in Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic, Friday, April 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
A participant blows a horn during an Easter procession marching through the streets in Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic, Friday, April 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Participants dressed in black, wearing masks, beating drums and pushing small carts that making a synchronized and loud sound take part in an Easter procession marching through the streets of Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic, Thursday, April 1, 2021. The traditional event went ahead despite COVID-19 restrictions, although participants also wore medical face masks and observed social distancing as a precaution. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Participants dressed in black, wearing masks, beating drums and pushing small carts that making a synchronized and loud sound take part in an Easter procession marching through the streets of Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic, Thursday, April 1, 2021. The traditional event went ahead despite COVID-19 restrictions, although participants also wore medical face masks and observed social distancing as a precaution. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Participants dressed in black, wearing masks, beating drums and pushing small carts making a synchronized and loud sound take part in an Easter procession marching through the streets of Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic, Friday, April 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Participants dressed in black, wearing masks, beating drums and pushing small carts making a synchronized and loud sound take part in an Easter procession marching through the streets of Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic, Friday, April 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Participants dressed in black, wearing masks, beating drums and pushing small carts making a synchronized and loud sound are reflected in a shop window as they take part in an Easter procession marching through the streets of Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic, Friday, April 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Participants dressed in black, wearing masks, beating drums and pushing small carts making a synchronized and loud sound are reflected in a shop window as they take part in an Easter procession marching through the streets of Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic, Friday, April 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Participants dressed in black, wearing masks, beating drums and pushing small carts making a synchronized and loud sound take part in an Easter procession marching through the streets of Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic, Friday, April 2, 2021. The traditional event went ahead despite COVID-19 restrictions, although participants also wore medical face masks and observed social distancing as a precaution. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Participants dressed in black, wearing masks, beating drums and pushing small carts making a synchronized and loud sound take part in an Easter procession marching through the streets of Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic, Friday, April 2, 2021. The traditional event went ahead despite COVID-19 restrictions, although participants also wore medical face masks and observed social distancing as a precaution. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Participants dressed in black, wearing masks, beating drums and pushing small carts making a synchronized and loud sound take part in an Easter procession marching through the streets of Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic, Friday, April 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Participants dressed in black, wearing masks, beating drums and pushing small carts making a synchronized and loud sound take part in an Easter procession marching through the streets of Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic, Friday, April 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
People watch from the window of their home as participants dressed in black, wearing masks, beating drums and pushing small carts making a synchronized and loud sound take part in an Easter procession marching through the streets of Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic, Thursday, April 1, 2021. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
People watch from the window of their home as participants dressed in black, wearing masks, beating drums and pushing small carts making a synchronized and loud sound take part in an Easter procession marching through the streets of Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic, Thursday, April 1, 2021. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Participants dressed in black, wearing masks, beating drums and pushing small carts making a synchronized and loud sound take part in an Easter procession marching through the streets of Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic, Thursday, April 1, 2021. The traditional event went ahead despite COVID-19 restrictions, although participants also wore medical face masks and observed social distancing as a precaution. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Participants dressed in black, wearing masks, beating drums and pushing small carts making a synchronized and loud sound take part in an Easter procession marching through the streets of Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic, Thursday, April 1, 2021. The traditional event went ahead despite COVID-19 restrictions, although participants also wore medical face masks and observed social distancing as a precaution. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Participants dressed in black, wearing masks, beating drums and pushing small carts making a synchronized and loud sound take part in an Easter procession marching through the streets of Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic, Thursday, April 1, 2021. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Participants dressed in black, wearing masks, beating drums and pushing small carts making a synchronized and loud sound take part in an Easter procession marching through the streets of Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic, Thursday, April 1, 2021. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
A participant wearing a mask holds a candle as he stands in front of a depiction of the painting the Last Supper during an Easter procession marching through the streets of Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic, Thursday, April 1, 2021. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
A participant wearing a mask holds a candle as he stands in front of a depiction of the painting the Last Supper during an Easter procession marching through the streets of Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic, Thursday, April 1, 2021. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Participants dressed in black, wearing masks, beating drums and pushing small carts making a synchronized and loud sound take part in an Easter procession marching through the streets of Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic, Thursday, April 1, 2021. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Participants dressed in black, wearing masks, beating drums and pushing small carts making a synchronized and loud sound take part in an Easter procession marching through the streets of Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic, Thursday, April 1, 2021. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Participants dressed in black, wearing masks, beating drums and pushing small carts making a synchronized and loud sound take part in an Easter procession marching through the streets of Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic, Thursday, April 1, 2021. The traditional event went ahead despite COVID-19 restrictions, although participants also wore medical face masks and observed social distancing as a precaution. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Participants dressed in black, wearing masks, beating drums and pushing small carts making a synchronized and loud sound take part in an Easter procession marching through the streets of Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic, Thursday, April 1, 2021. The traditional event went ahead despite COVID-19 restrictions, although participants also wore medical face masks and observed social distancing as a precaution. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
A participant wearing a mask takes part in an Easter procession marching through the streets of Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic, Thursday, April 1, 2021. The traditional event went ahead despite COVID-19 restrictions, although participants also wore medical face masks and observed social distancing as a precaution. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
A participant wearing a mask takes part in an Easter procession marching through the streets of Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic, Thursday, April 1, 2021. The traditional event went ahead despite COVID-19 restrictions, although participants also wore medical face masks and observed social distancing as a precaution. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Participants wearing masks stand near a depiction of the painting the Last Supper take part in an Easter procession marching through the streets of Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic, Thursday, April 1, 2021. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Participants wearing masks stand near a depiction of the painting the Last Supper take part in an Easter procession marching through the streets of Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic, Thursday, April 1, 2021. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Participants wearing masks take part in an Easter procession marching through the streets of Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic, Thursday, April 1, 2021. The traditional event went ahead despite COVID-19 restrictions, although participants also wore medical face masks and observed social distancing as a precaution. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Participants wearing masks take part in an Easter procession marching through the streets of Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic, Thursday, April 1, 2021. The traditional event went ahead despite COVID-19 restrictions, although participants also wore medical face masks and observed social distancing as a precaution. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
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