AP PHOTOS: Czechs hold noisy Easter procession amid pandemic

CESKE BUDEJOVICE, Czech Republic (AP) — 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 take place through Easter Sunday.

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